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Laos goes into total lockdown


VIENTIANE, Laos, 1 April 2020: Laos a tiny landlocked country sharing borders with Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and Myanmar went into lockdown 30 March.

The measure comes as the country reported ints eighth Covid-19 case amidst fears that if the disease takes hold, the nation’s health system could collapse.

Following the initial announcement 29 March, land borders closed with all of its neighbours and effective 1 April the last flights departed from Luang Prabang and Vientiane the country’s capital.

The Lao Government announced a raft of measures starting with an order for citizens and residents to stay home.

“All people must remain at home, unless buying food and other essentials, visiting medical facilities and/or going to work at ‘essential organisations’. Medical facilities (including pharmacies), supermarkets, banks, petrol stations, hotels and restaurants are allowed to remain open with some restrictions to services. Travel between provinces can only occur with local authorities’ approval.”

Public servants start working from home effective today 1 April until 11 April when a national holiday to observe the Lao New Year holiday extends to 19 April.  All festival celebrations have been cancelled.

Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, including, cultural events, the Lao New Year festivities, religious gatherings, weddings, and recreational activities.

International and provincial borders will remain closed from 30 March through to midnight on 19 April.

Meanwhile, the US embassy said it was planning an evacuation flight from Vientiane to a yet to be determined destination in the US  for its citizens remaining in the country, possibly during the first week of April. Estimated cost per passenger will be around USD1125.

The announcement posted on Facebook said passengers would need to reimburse the US government for the flight, and a promissory note would need to be signed before boarding the aircraft.

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