Laos to boost economic growth amid pandemic; over 60,000 tested for Covid-19


VIENTIANE, Oct 19 (The Vientiane Times/ANN): The Lao government sectors have been urged to further stimulate economic growth amid the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic slump, which have taken a heavy toll on Laos' economy.

This was one of the main aspects of a resolution approved at the 11th Session of the 10th Party Central Committee which wrapped up in Lao capital Vientiane on Friday.

According to the office of the Party Central Committee, the Lao government should ramp up commercial production so that more goods are produced for domestic consumption and export.

Although Laos remains free of any severe health impacts resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, the effect on the economy, particularly on the tourism industry, has been widespread, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.

Prior to the pandemic, tourism was growing significantly. International visitor arrivals rose by 14.4 percent, reaching a peak of 4.7 million in 2019 and generating income of about US$934 million, according to the Asian Development Bank.

In June, the government predicted that Laos would suffer huge losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the economy expected to grow by only 3.3-3.6 percent.

The pandemic has devastated tourism, investments and exports, which are key sources of foreign exchange for Laos.

However, a number of mega development projects continue to make progress as planned. Construction of the China-Laos railway is currently more than 90 percent complete and is on track for full completion in 2021.

Construction of the Vientiane-Vangvieng Expressway is also 90 per cent complete and will open for public use in December 2020.

Other mega projects relating to mining, special economic zones and tourism have also seen significant progress.

In the meantime, the authorities are still struggling to regulate food prices because many products are imported and must be purchased with currencies whose exchange rates are fluctuating.

Laos has also conducted 60,565 tests for the Covid-19 pandemic since January, with 23 of them being positive, according to the Ministry of Health.

Laos has been carrying out tests on a daily basis to detect the infections since January, completing 60,565 in total so far, according to a report from the ministry on Monday.

Among the people tested, 23 have been confirmed to be infected with the virus and 22 of the patients have been discharged from hospitals after treatment.

On Sunday, a total of 1,256 people entered laos through international border checkpoint.

According to the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, it has been monitoring 2,475 people at 35 accommodation centers across the country.

The Laos government has warned people countrywide not to neglect containment and preventive measures. Laos announced its first two Covid-19 cases on March 24. - Xinhua
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Laos , Govt , More Efforts , Economy , Covid-19 , Effect


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