The National Task Force Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control revealed in a statement for the press on Saturday night (Oct 2) that the Laos government had agreed in principle to resume charter flights with countries that are not experiencing an outbreak.
The move comes as the government hopes to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19, particularly in regard to the tourism industry, which has been hit hardest.
Japan already announced plans for a travel bubble with certain countries, including Laos, and discussions are underway for fast-track immigration policies between Laos and both China and Vietnam.
According to a notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Laos will continue the suspension of issuance of tourist visas for foreign visitors, however, charter flights will be available this month.
The notice states that it agrees in principle to allow group tours from countries not experiencing a Covid-19 outbreak to enter Laos, however further discussions will be held regarding this point.
In addition, returning residents who test negative will be allowed to complete their quarantine in their home or at their place of employment instead of the previous requirement for a 14-day quarantine in a designated quarantine centre or hotel.
The closure of traditional and customary border checkpoints will remain in place, except for those authorised by the government to transport goods. International borders will remain closed to all regular travellers except Lao citizens or foreigners with authorisation from the Taskforce.
The updated Covid-19 prevention measures will remain in place until Oct 31.
The Boat Racing Festival, marriage ceremonies, or other traditional festivals are permitted, however entertainment venues such as karaoke bars, nightclubs, and internet cafes must remain closed.
Laos has not confirmed a new case of Covid-19 in its territory since Sept 10.