Laos blocks capital over outbreak of Thai-related virus

Bangkok (AP) —Laos closed the capital and closed the border for most traffic on Thursday after identifying a COVID-19 cluster connected to its larger neighbor, Thailand.

Residents of the capital Vientiane are prohibited from leaving the city and outsiders are required to obtain an entry permit. The border is closed except for trucks carrying goods, and the state news agency KPL reported if permitted by the national COVID-19 task force.

The blockade, signed by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavan, also bans all Vientiane residents from leaving home, except for mandatory grocery shopping, hospital visits and other permitted jobs. It was. The limit will continue until May 5th.

According to the report, after 28 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Wednesday, orders were placed, bringing the country to a total of 88 people. Laos has a total population of about 7.5 million, including about 700,000 in Vientiane.

The government-owned Vientiane Times reported on its website that 26 of the 28 new cases were residents of the capital who had contact with students at the National University of Laos who caught the virus from a Thai man. The other two said they were workers returning from Thailand to the southern province of Champassak.

Neighboring Thailand is fighting the worst wave of illness, but so far this year it has not imposed a national blockade, but many states have visited visitors from particularly active outbreaks. Ordering quarantine.

Thai authorities reported 1,470 new cases on Thursday, for a total of more than 48,000. In addition, seven deaths have been reported, the highest number of deaths per day, for a total of 117 deaths.

Vientiane was locked down from April 1st to 19th last year after the country’s first nine COVID-19 cases were reported.

The new restrictions will ban all gatherings of more than 20 people, including wedding receptions, school festivals and religious activities, and will close entertainment venues, bars, massage parlors and gyms.

Companies that are essential and allowed to continue operating include hospitals, banks, supermarkets, restaurants and utilities.

The KPL reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was instructed to promote the evacuation of foreigners wishing to return to their home countries.