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Govt ramps up border controls to prevent spread of Covid-19

The government is continuing to step up controls at border crossings to prevent people entering Laos illegally and avoiding checks that could stem the spread of Covid-19, the national virus control taskforce has announced.
The move is part of ramped up measures being imposed until February 28 to keep the virus in check. Virus prevention and control measures are updated by the government on a monthly basis.
The Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Public Security, in cooperation with authorities in Vientiane and the provinces, especially border provinces, have been urged to strengthen border patrols and ensure that people do not cross the border undetected.
Anyone found attempting to enter Laos illegally will be taken to a quarantine facility and tested for the virus.
Charter flights from countries that have a community outbreak of the virus have been suspended, apart from humanitarian flights, Vice Chairman of the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, Dr Bounkong Syhavong told a press conference on Tuesday.
The tougher measures were introduced after 14 people including a Lao national were found to be carrying the virus after arriving in Laos on a charter flight. They tested positive while in quarantine in Vientiane.
Authorities have been asked to scrutinise passengers travelling on charter flights to ensure they have not come from a country that has a community outbreak of Covid-19. With regard to social gatherings, the number of participants must be limited and everyone must comply with virus prevention measures such as social distancing, hand-washing, and wearing a face mask.
The government will continue to allow the traditional festivals of ethnic groups to take place, as well as social activities. If a festival is planned in a province or district, the organisers must obtain permission from a provincial governor or the Mayor of Vientiane.
Dr Bounkong said authorities would regularly assess the effectiveness of virus prevention measures and revisions would be made as necessary. If changes are made, the authorities will notify everyone concerned.
Local authorities continue to face challenges in monitoring people at border crossings and providing assistance to people returning to Laos after being affected by the pandemic, she added.
It is common for returnees to enter Laos undetected by crossing the Mekong at places where there are no immigration facilities. This means they are not screened for the virus or quarantined as regulations require.
The authorities are continuing to be vigilant and imposing strict precautionary measures. In general, only Lao nationals may enter Laos. Uniform standards of self-monitoring and quarantine are required for the staff of international organisations, business executives, and general workers. A 14-day period of self-monitoring is required for everyone entering Laos even though they have no Covid-19 symptoms. 

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update
February 3,

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