Today an order was issued to lock down Luang Prabang to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Authorities in several Lao provinces have ordered lockdowns with travel banned between some districts due to a surge in Covid infections.
All Covid rule-breakers will be fined. This includes anyone who comes into contact with a known COVID case and does not self-isolate or inform the authorities of their movements. Such individuals will be fined one million kip ($100) if they test positive for the virus.
People who gather for a drinking session will be issued with a warning and fined 100,000 kip for a first offence and one million kip for a second breach of the rules. The owner of the venue will be fined 500,000 kip for a first offence and two million kip for a second offence.
The owners of shops that sell alcohol or stockpile goods with the intention of raising prices will be fined one million kip for a first offence and three-to-five million kip for a second breach of the rules.
In September the Minister of Health Dr Bounfeng Phommalaysith warned outbreaks of Covid-19 in some parts of Laos are approaching large-scale community transmission, technically known as Level III. Addressing the daily news briefing on September 21, the minister said that outbreaks in some areas are currently categorized as Level II (localized community transmission) but are poised to become Level III.
He was clearly referring to Vientiane and the provinces of Khammuan and Champasak, which have seen recent daily increases in the number of cluster cases.
Vientiane, which has recorded hundreds of locally-transmitted cases in recent days, has been worst hit by the outbreak after the virus spread among factory employees.
The lockdown came just as I had organised food donations for a local village. Luckily this managed to go through.