On December 23, 2020, the Prime Minister’s Office issued Notification No. 1414/PMO to continue implementing measures to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 in Laos from the date of issuance to January 31, 2021. This comes amid a recent surge of COVID-19 cases in neighboring countries, and the transmission of the virus to individuals entering Laos. Specifically, the notification mandates the following:
- Continued suspension of chartered flights from foreign countries/zones where there is local transmission of COVID-19 among the community. Passengers of flights from countries where there is local transmission of the COVID-19 infection are also prohibited from transiting in Laos.
- Continued suspension of tourist visas for foreign nationals. Diplomats, employees of international organizations, experts, and investors urgently required to work in various projects must obtain the approval of the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control (NTC); follow the prescribed sanitary measures; and have a COVID-19 PCR test certificate issued no more than 72 hours more before boarding the aircraft. When arriving in Lao PDR, these foreign nationals must undergo another PCR test and quarantine for 14 days in an approved location.
- Continued closure of all traditional and local border checkpoints (which differ from international checkpoints) to people and goods, except when exempted by the government. Spraying to eradicate germs will be administered per state authorities’ recommendations.
- Continued closure of all international border checkpoints to the public, except for Lao and foreign individuals who need to enter and exit from Laos and have the NTC’s permission to do so. Goods can be transported into and out of Laos as usual.
- Prohibition of large entertainment events (e.g., concerts). Private and family events must implement preventive measures based on the NTC’s recommendations.
- Continued publication and dissemination of materials publicizing the preventive measures and urging the population in Laos to observe these measures.
- Monitoring of any persons crossing the border, and patrolling of border checkpoints to ensure no illegal intrusion or departure from the country, overseen by the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Public Security, and the relevant departments at the local level (e.g., province, district).
- Requirement for people entering Laos to wear a medical device to monitor their movement within the country. The NTC is responsible for deciding the process and expenses associated with this (further details to be provided in due course).
- Review of designated quarantine locations and locations for the provision of COVID-19 related treatments, and consideration of the need to increase their number in preparation for an influx of individuals entering the country.
- Direction to the NTC to set conditions for the purchase of COVID-19 insurance by foreign individuals entering the country (further details to be provided in due course ).
- Assignment of the NTC to cooperate with foreign countries developing measures regarding COVID-19 vaccines.
For further information on these or any other COVID-19 contingencies and requirements in Laos, please contact Tilleke & Gibbins at [email protected].