VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Vientiane authorities have introduced new restrictions, including a ban on night travel and closure of some businesses and schools, as the community outbreak of Covid-19 widens.
The capital’s mayor, Atsaphangthong Siphandone, issued an order on Aug 30 imposing 10 prohibitions and closures as follows:
> Travel on roads is prohibited across the capital from 10pm to 5am. Exceptions are made for essential trips such as the transport of goods, food and medical equipment, ambulances, fire-fighting trucks, rescue vehicles, and vehicles owned by officials.
> Closure of all schools, with entrance exams to tertiary education institutions suspended.
> Closure of traditional and local border checkpoints. Passenger transport via the first Laos-Thailand Mekong Friendship Bridge is suspended. Exception is given to the transport of goods and people given permission by the Covid-19 taskforce.
> Karaoke and entertainment venues, tourist sites, night markets, food gardens, liqour outlets including grill shops where alcoholic beverages are sold, theatres, snooker clubs, massage and spa services, beauty salons, internet cafés and gaming shops must close.
> Meetings, training courses and other activities involving more than 20 people are banned.
> Any kind of party or gathering in any location is prohibited. Those infringing the rule will be placed in quarantine at a quarantine centre or designated hotel. Rule-breakers will be fined and held responsible for any costs incurred.
> All indoor and outdoor sports are prohibited.
> Residents living in Vientiane’s red zones are prohibited from travelling to the provinces. Meanwhile, people living in red zones outside of Vientiane are not permitted to enter the city, unless given permission by the Covid-19 taskforce.
> Circulation of fake news is prohibited.
> Rises in product prices and the stockpiling of goods is not allowed.
These measures will be in place until the community outbreak of the virus is brought under control.
The intensified measures came after the capital recorded an increase in locally-transmitted cases in recent days, triggering fears of a further outbreak. On Tuesday alone, Vientiane recorded 24 locally-transmitted cases – the highest in the country.
In addition, special restrictions have been introduced in red zones, including the following:
> Travel from and to red zones is prohibited for 14 days. Violators will be quarantined and held responsible for any costs incurred, except where permitted by the Covid-19 taskforce.
> Meetings, trainings, traditional festivals and other activities are completely banned.
> Wholesale and retail shops, supermarkets, department stores, minimarts, fresh markets, restaurants, coffee shops, barber shops and beauty salons must remain closed.
> Factories must close except for those that have dormitories to house their employees or those providing transport for employees.
Outside of red zones, wholesale and retail shops, supermarkets, department stores, minimarts, fresh markets, restaurants and coffee shops may remain open, but staff must be fully vaccinated. All businesses must close by 9pm.
Factories whose employees have been fully vaccinated are permitted to continue to operate.