The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than 105 million confirmed cases and over 2.3 million deaths around the globe since 16 January 2020. The outbreak has caused unprecedented impacts on human mobility, leaving migrants and mobile populations among the most vulnerable.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic confirmed a newly imported case when a Lao national tested positive upon arrival at Wattay International Airport via charter flight from Malaysia on 24 January. Champasack Province confirmed its first case when a Lao national re-entered the country via Chongmek-Vangtao Border; a Chinese national who irregularly entered Bokeo Province also tested positive, marking the first case in Bokeo Province. The country has recorded 44 cases of COVID-19 so far. International, local and traditional Points of Entry (PoEs) nation-wide remain closed, except for designated PoEs that are approved to open for logistics purposes. Lao migrant workers and nationals are allowed to return via international PoEs.
Thailand, a popular destination and a source of transit country for Lao migrant workers, had seen a surge of virus infections originating from the outbreak at the country’s Central Shrimp Market in Samut Sakhon District. Mobility restrictions imposed in prevention of COVID-19 have left many stranded overseas; most recently, a large group of Lao migrant fishermen found themselves stranded in Malaysia.
The country’s first vaccination roll-out began on 27 January, with at-risk groups including key frontline medical staff receiving the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
- International Organization for Migration
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