Laos reopens some local border crossings to revive economy amid COVID-19

October 27, 2020

The Lao government is temporarily reopening some local and customary border crossings in a bid to revive the economy and mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move is part of the government efforts to balance the measures containing the virus with the easing of restrictions enabling businesses to import and export goods.

According to local daily Vientiane Times on Monday, the lifting of certain restrictions would allow improved cross-border trade between four provinces in Laos and neighboring countries.

The four border crossings included the Nongmar customary border crossing in Khammuan province, Ban Vang local border crossing in Vientiane province, Thasa-ath customary border crossing in Borikhamxay province, and the Panghay local border crossing in Luang Namtha province.

The Panghay border crossing will reopen from Nov. 1 until June 30, 2021, to aid trade between Laos and China.

However, importers and exporters must comply with all the measures relevant to the transport of goods laid down by authorities in Laos and China, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In Borikhamxay, the reopening of the Thasa-ath border crossing which was approved by the Prime Minister's Office on Oct. 14 will enable the import of materials and equipment needed for construction of the Nam Theun 1 hydropower plant. The crossing will be closed after the necessary equipment enters Laos.

The remaining traditional and local border crossings remain closed, except those permitted to open for the transport of goods.

Goods are mainly imported and exported through international border crossings which are equipped with the necessary facilities and personnel to screen and identify anyone carrying the COVID-19 virus.

To date, 24 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Laos with the most recent being a Lao national who returned to Laos from Russia and tested positive for the virus on last Tuesday.

Laos detected its first two COVID-19 cases on March 24.