On 21 April 2021, the Prime Minister issued an Order on Reinforcement Measures for Prevention, Containment and Full Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic ("Order"). The Order sets out the following instructions which must be implemented during the period from 22 April 2021 to 5 May 2021 to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Lao PDR.
All ministries, central and local administrative authorities are instructed to redouble their efforts to raise public awareness about the harmfulness of COVID-19 and the ways to prevent, contain and respond to this virus, and to step-up measures on the prevention, containment and response to the outbreak of the virus in order to protect the good health and lives of the Lao people and foreigners living in Lao PDR. The measures include:
- Setting up of COVID-19 testing centres and continuing contact tracing in Vientiane Capital. COVID-19 vaccination programs for at-risk prioritised groups nationwide are to continue as well.
- Maintaining physical distancing. All ministries and similar organisations in Vientiane Capital, and enterprises in Vientiane Capital shall reduce the number of employees in the workplace and organise rotation of their employees, civil servants, workers on duty at the office on a daily basis as may be appropriate starting from 22 April 2021 to 5 May 2021, with the exception of officials from the military, police, firefighters, staff on duty for the supply of electricity, water, telecommunication, transport, and public health services, volunteers, and government staff who are on duty and those who are working to contain, control and provide medical treatment for the infected cases. For those who are not working from office, they shall continue to work from home through electronic means of communication and internet such as telephone, email, and video conference system.
- Residents in Vientiane Capital are not allowed to travel to other provinces. Similarly, those living in other provinces are also prohibited from travelling to Vientiane Capital except: (i) those whose hometowns and workplaces are located in Vientiane Capital; (ii) those authorised by the Task Force to travel from or to Vientiane Capital; and (iii) those who are transporting goods to and from the Vientiane Capital. All passenger transport services from Vientiane Capital to other provinces, and from other provinces to Vientiane Capital shall be suspended. Police officers shall be instructed to set up checkpoints to carry out inspections strictly.
- All persons including Government staff and officials, military, police, workers, students, business owners, monks, aliens, stateless people and foreigners living in Vientiane Capital are not allowed to leave their house or residence, except for valid reasons such as purchasing food and consumable goods, going to a hospital, carrying out activities specified in paragraph 3 of the Order, and carrying out his/her duties as assigned by the concerned authority. Those who have to leave their house for agricultural activities can do so, but under the supervision and approval of relevant village authorities in terms of the numbers and scope so that there is not risk of outbreak.
- Prohibition of opportunistic activities in terms of stockpiling and increasing prices of consumable goods namely masks, hand gels, medicine, medical supplies, rice, food, drinking water, and other necessities.
- Prohibition on the advertisement of, dissemination, and forwarding of fake news via any media platforms that can cause misunderstanding, panic, and create a negative impact on society.
- Prohibition on holding meetings or gatherings or other activities involving more than 20 people such as religious activities, traditional festivals, weddings and parties. In cases where a gathering has to be organised such as funerals and related ceremonies, the organisers must strictly comply with the measures set out by the Task Force, such as temperature checking, physical distancing of at least one metre, wearing of masks, and hand-washing with soap or sanitiser.
- Continued closure of all international border checkpoints, customary and local border checkpoints by land and water for the entry and exit of individuals, except for those having valid reasons and authorised by the Task Force, as well as vehicles for transportation of goods with COVID-19 insurance. Individuals allowed to enter Laos must wear a medical monitoring device during the 14-day quarantine period. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall coordinate with concerned departments/agencies to facilitate the departure of foreigners wishing to return to their home countries.
- Continued closure of entertainment venues, karaoke outlets, bars, internet cafes, massage-spa parlours, snooker services, fitness centres and all indoor sport centres.
- Allowing necessary business operations undertaking large projects, factories, banks, non-commercial financial institutions, stock exchange, stockbroking companies, hospitals, medical centres, pharmacies, rescue organisation, postal service, telecommunication, electricity, water supply, waste collecting and disposing services, agricultural produce markets, convenience stores, supermarkets, fuel stations, restaurants/food outlets and coffee shops. Hotels and resorts are allowed to open and provide food and lodging only. They shall strictly follow the preventive measures ordered by the Task Force, and require their employees to work on rotation.
Visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre for views from our lawyers across the region on common issues and legal implications brought about by COVID-19. For specific inquiries, please reach out to your relationship partner or send an email to our COVID-19 Legal Team.