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18 May 2020 | 10:16 AM UTC

Laos: Authorities lift ban on interprovincial travel and other COVID-19 restrictions May 18 /update 6

Laos News Alert

Lao government lifts COVID-19 travel restrictions amid easing of lockdown measures May 18; continue to follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/18/2020, 12:00 AM until 6/8/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Vientiane). COUNTRY/REGION Laos

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On Monday, May 18, the Lao government lifted travel restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a continuation of an easing of lockdown measures imposed on Wednesday, April 1. No new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Laos for over a month, leading to the government beginning to gradually ease restrictions. Interprovincial travel by land, air, or water can now resume and many public and private offices and businesses can also resume operations. However, staff are being advised to continue to work from home if possible. Final year students in schools will return on Monday, while all remaining students will return on Monday, June 1. All indoor and outdoor sporting activities are permitted and restaurants, retail outlets, hairdressers, beauty salons, markets, and other services may resume operations. Foreign expats working or studying in Laos are now permitted to return home if they wish. Large gatherings are still prohibited and entertainment venues, such as cinemas, bars, and casinos, remain closed. All border crossings continue to be closed to the general public.

The lifting of measures is being conducted on the condition that certain virus prevention measures are strictly adhered to. These include social distancing of at least 1 meter (3 ft), regular hand washing, the wearing of face masks, regular cleaning of premises, and temperature checks where possible. This latest stage of the easing of restrictions is in effect until June 1 and a decision on whether restrictions are further eased or re-imposed will be made in the intervening period dependent on the spread of the virus.

As of May 18, there have been 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laos, although new cases have been confirmed for 35 days. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.


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