VIENTIANE, Oct. 19 (Xinhua): Authorities in northern Laos' Luang Prabang province have cancelled the celebration of the famous annual light boats festival amid lockdown restrictions, as the number of Covid-19 cases keeps rising in Laos.
According to a notice issued on Monday (Oct 18) by Luang Prabang provincial governor Viengthong Hatsachanh, celebrations marking the end of Buddhist Lent and light boats festival (Boun Lai Heua Fai Festival) have been canceled.
The notice also said that the traditional practice of making merit through almsgiving toward the end of Buddhist Lent will not be permitted in Luang Prabang Province, some 220 km north of Lao capital Vientiane.
During the Boun Lai Heua Fai festival, people adorned the city with lanterns, paraded with and later floated large dragon boats and small "boats" made from banana trees carrying flowers, incense and candles down the Mekong River to let bad luck drift away and good luck flow in.
This year, residents of Luang Prabang Province will not be permitted to leave their homes to float small candle boats along rivers or in lakes.
The end of Buddhist Lent and Boun Lai Heua Fai festival are major events that take place in Luang Prabang province every year with a three-day celebration, which is distinguished from other provinces in the country.
The National Taskforce Committee for Covid19 Prevention and Control on Tuesday reported 656 locally transmitted cases and one new imported infection.
Among the community cases, 239 were reported in the capital Vientiane, 155 in Vientiane province, 126 in Khammuan, 72 in Luang Prabang, 25 in Bolikhamxay, 16 in Xaysomboun, nine in Savannakhet and Champasak, four in Saravan, and one in Bokeo province.
The imported case was detected in Savannakhet province.
As of Tuesday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Laos reached 32,971 with 45 deaths. - Xinhua