Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Laos maintains foreign travel ban May 15. Domestic flight ban, other domestic controls relaxed from May 18.

This alert affects Laos

This alert began 15 May 2020 15:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: International travel ban, quarantine measures, movement restrictions

Authorities have indefinitely extended international travel restrictions as of May 15 to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, officials will relax some domestic controls relaxed from May 18. Domestic flights and inter-provincial travel may resume from May 18. Some schools, shopping centers, and leisure facilities can reopen from May 18, providing they adhere to social distancing regulations. Authorities have warned that they could reimpose domestic travel and gathering restrictions if COVID-19 cases increase. Bars and casinos remain closed nationwide, and gatherings of over 50 individuals continue to be banned.

Travel Restrictions

Except for repatriation, most international travel in and out of Laos remains effectively banned. Issuance of tourist visas, visas-on-arrival, and visa exemptions remain suspended indefinitely. The government is allowing foreigners already in the country to depart, while citizens can travel abroad only for specific reasons, such as essential government duties or for medical purposes. Some foreign nationals employed in Laos may be allowed to return to the country. International commercial flights are banned and border checkpoints are closed. Any individuals entering Laos will undergo isolation for two weeks at government-designated facilities. The cross-border movement of goods remains authorized.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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