Lao's COVID Update for the start of January 2021
Lao's COVID Update for the start of January 2021


Lao's COVID Update for the start of January 2021


At the start of the New Year, Laos remains in a strong position in the fight against COVID.

As of the 1st of January there is only one active case of COVID, currently being treated in a government hospital. Laos has reported a total of 41 cases of COVID, with all but one having recovered and no deaths.

Source: WHO Report as of 19 January 2020 

A significant outbreak in neighboring Thailand has raised some concerns, but so far remains behind the border. 

The Government Taskforce has placed a temporary ban on all frozen and fresh seafood coming from Thailand in an attempt to stop the virus making its way into the country. While this has put some strain on the restaurant sector, alternative sources have been found via Vietnam. 

However there are concerns that illegal immigrants from Thailand or returning migrant workers may try to sneak across the border. So far the government has been vigilant in this area and has reportedly captured 11 Thai nationals attempting to smuggle themselves across the border. 

The illegal entry of Chinese nationals into Boten District in the north of Laos has raised some concerns. One Chinese national who entered Laos illegally tested positive to COVID upon his return to China after spending time in Boten. The provincial border has been closed to neighbouring provinces and unconfirmed reports on social media have suggested that district police have forced foreigners to leave. Lao media reports that these travel restrictions are now being eased

Unconfirmed reports on social media from Northern provinces neighboring China suggest that police are being extremely vigilant and many small villages are barring foreigners from entering. 

While there is no national lockdown currently in place the National Taskforce reminds all people in Laos to practice good hygiene and to report for testing if they are displaying symptoms. 

The Lao Government has also begun the first round of vaccines, with 2,000 doses of the vaccine having been donated by China. These have been administered to volunteer frontline healthcare workers. Deputy Minister for Health as told Lao media that vaccinations for the general public are likely to begin in April. The first round of vaccines will prioritise at risk groups and frontline workers. 

Entry into Laos is still strictly controlled with no new visas being issued, with the exception of essential workers and diplomats. All people coming into Laos must undergo a 14 day quarantine in a government approved facility. Charter flights have been suspended but social media reports suggest that this ban may be lifted soon. Some flights are scheduled for mid to late January and are awaiting government approval.

For travelers stuck in Laos, the government continues to offer unlimited visa extensions for tourist visas.

For anyone wishing to leave Laos it is best to contact your embassy to see what options are available. Most embassies are regularly publishing updates through their social media pages. If you wish to leave, you should contact your embassy.

Despite the ongoing pandemic the mood in Laos is positive. Large gatherings and celebrations, such as the Vang Vieng Music Festival, have been cancelled. However the Lao Thiao Lao (Lao Travel Lao) campaign to promote domestic tourism continues to offer great deals for travel around Laos. Bars and restaurants remain open, and people are free to travel around (most) of the country. We hope that Laos is able to maintain its fantastic record in this area and people are able to continue living a mostly unchanged life in Laos.


David Ormsby

David is a writer, explorer, adventurer, outdoor educator, and guide. He was worked across the Asia Pacific in a number of different roles within the eco-tourism and outdoor industry. Since 2016 David has lived and worked in Laos, and brings a depth of experience to his writing in Laos.