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Ceremonies downsized due to Covid-19 pandemic

Anniversary and other events of national importance this year will not be celebrated with large ceremonies or parades, but through publications, broadcasts and other media channels.
Vice President Dr Phankham Viphavanh, representing the National Guiding Committee on the celebration of national events, made the announcement yesterday.

“In light of the Covid-19 epidemic, and bearing in mind our responsibility for public safety, the Party Central Committee has made appropriate recommendations to the National Guiding Committee about the celebration of Party and national anniversaries in 2020. These advise avoiding events that gather large numbers of people together, as this increases the risk of infection, and an outbreak of Covid-19,” Dr Phankham said.
This year will see the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party on March 22, the 45th National Day on December 2, the 100th birth anniversary of President Kaysone Phomvihane on December 13, and the 70th anniversary of the Lao Front for National Development on August 13. The 60th anniversary of the Public Security Force will fall on April 5, 2021.
Covid-19 has so far infected about 120,000 people in 118 countries and more than 4,000 people have died from the disease.
“Because of this, the National Guiding Committee has cancelled a large ceremony planned in Vientiane to mark the anniversary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, which had been scheduled for March 20,” Dr Phankham said.
He called on authorities at all levels to cancel plans for gatherings related to the anniversary.
“Even though there has been no confirmed case of the virus in Laos so far, the risk is high because there are outbreaks in all of our neighbouring countries,” he said.
Instead, the Party will host a special broadcast on March 22 when President Bounnhang Vorachit will deliver a speech on television, radio and social media. It will also be published through other official channels, such as print media.
The Party is encouraging the media to actively and continuously advertise the Party’s anniversary and its development through features and news articles, documentaries, songs, interviews, talks and profiles, from now until April.
Seminars on various topics relating to the Party leadership have been approved by the National Guiding Committee but participants will be provided with handwashing gel and sanitiser as a precautionary measure, and will have their temperature checked.
The Committee also called for political activities within each Party grassroots organisation to be enhanced by studying Party traditions, its courage in times past, the dangers faced by the Party, the requirements of modern times, and addressing undesirable conduct, self-improvement, and greater enthusiasm among Party members and personnel
The Vice President called on all members of the public to take the necessary steps to protect themselves against the coronavirus.
He advised everyone to follow the measures recommended by the National Taskforce Committee on the prevention and control of Covid-19.
Dr Phankham suggested that people of all ethnic groups and social organisations reconsider their plans for festivals and traditional events given the risk to public health.
He recommended that people not shake hands when greeting each other but use the traditional nop (placing hands together as if praying) instead, saying this would not only reduce the risk of disease transmission but also preserve Lao customs.

By Somxay Sengdara
(Latest Update March 13, 2020)

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