Laos in no mood to party

VIENTIANE, Laos, 19 March 2020: Health officials in Laos are urging residents to cancel or postpone all social events including weddings as provinces signal they intend to cancel Lao New Year celebrations in mid-April.

Although Laos has not reported any Covid-19 cases, officials cautioned that stringent measures would need to be in place to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease that has hit all of the country’s neighbours except for Myanmar.

Some land border checkpoints have closed between Thailand and Laos.

Border checkpoints shut
The international border checkpoint Huai Kon/ Nam Ngeun (Nan-Thailand to Xayaburi- Laos);
The Pang Mone international border checkpoint between Ban Huak village in Phayao province in North Thailand and Muang Khob in Laos.

The small Savannakhet International Airport in central Laos, close to the Mekong River and facing Mukdahan in Thailand, has closed indefinitely.

Passengers entering Laos through the main gateway airports in Vientiane or Luang Prabang will have their temperatures checked.

All flights from South Korea have been cancelled while just a few flights from China (Kunming and Chongqing) remain.

Bangkok Airways announced it was cancelling services from Bangkok to Vientiane, but continues to fly to Luang Prabang.

The new regulations set out by the National Task Force Committee on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 include quarantine in hospitals for travellers arriving in Laos who display Covid-19 symptoms such as cough, high fever and shortness of breath, or who have travelled from high-risk countries.

Self-isolation is required for those who may not display symptoms but who have travelled from countries not bordering Laos which have more than 100 cases of infection.

All foreign nationals who have visited China or South Korea in the past 14 days before entering Laos will be subject to more stringent screening procedures, including quarantine.

(Source: Travel agency updates, Laotian Times and government announcements)