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Lao trucks not allowed into China at Boten border crossing

Lao trucks attempting to tranport goods into China are not being allowed to cross at the Boten International Checkpoint in Luang Namtha province. This is being done to check the spread of the dreaded coronavirus. Goods are being carried into China on Chinese trucks.
However, head of the management committee at the Boten International Checkpoint, Lieutenant Colonel Kongkeo Singmixay, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday during a visit to the province which was supported by UNICEF that “We have not banned Lao trucks from delivering goods into China and they can go there if they want”.

It could be that Lao truck operators are signing deals with Chinese companies to deliver goods from Laos into China, especially from the northern provinces, the official speculated.
He said up to last month some Lao truck operators lacked an understanding of  the measures being taken in view of the pandemic and requested aid from local authorities to redress this issue.
“Our officials are working hard to make Lao truck operators aware about the dynamics of the global pandemic. It was a challenge to take necessary precautions in line with the government’s National Taskforce Committee measures to avoid a second wave of COVID-19,” he said. Luang Namtha is a popular border crossing for international travel, trade and cultural exchanges. A person who did not wish to be identified said there has been a noticeable drop in trade at this international checkpoint.
 Over the last three years, around 400 cars and heavy trucks from Laos, China and other countries crossed this border daily. However, only 200 cars and heavy trucks from China are hauling freight into Laos, he said.
Currently, Boten border checkpoint closes at 8 pm. Border officials plan to extend that up to 10 pm to reduce traffic congestion.
According to the provincial Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, officials are strengthening preventive measures against the virus. Laos has a well-established system to identify unusual cluster of diseases or illnesses.
Health authorities have strengthened screening and quarantine measures at all ports of entry across the country. All entry points are using thermal scanners to check visitors arriving in Luang Namtha.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update June 19, 2020)

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