COVID Update for the start of May 2021
COVID Update for the start of May 2021


COVID Update for the start of May 2021


The month of April has been a terrible month for Laos in terms of COVID. The country that has kept the pandemic at bay for so long, has finally fallen prey to its relentless onslaught.

The cases allegedly began with two Thai men who entered illegally at the start of Pi Mai, Lao’s New Year Festival. The two men met up with two Lao women who took them on a tour of some of the country’s party hotspots. The group sparked a raft of community transmission, with the country now having 973 active cases and a total of 1072 cases since the start of the pandemic. 

The Lao government has responded quickly, issuing a lockdown for Vientiane prefecture and then for the entire country. All people in Laos are required to stay at home except for essential workers or those undertaking essential tasks such as shopping for food. For full details please check the Lao Government’s COVID page at For full details in English please refer to the official translations published by your embassy through their social media channels. 

Ministry of Health and WHO respond to first case of COVID-19 in Laos
Ministry of Health respond to the second wave of COVID-19 in Laos

The lockdown is currently scheduled to last until the 20th of May, but may be extended if community transmissions continue.

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 resumed, but are extremely limited. With entry being strictly controlled it is unclear how many flights will continue to operate. Some flights are scheduled for late May and are likely to go ahead.

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

New requirements for foreigners entering Laos were announced earlier and continue to be enforced. These include purchasing mandatory COVID insurance at a cost of $100 USD, and a wearable monitoring device at a cost of $6 USD per day. 

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. However with the lack of flights, options are extremely limited.

Despite the ongoing pandemic the mood in Laos is cautiously optimistic. The lockdown is a challenge for many people, but the hope is that it will stop the spread of the virus and that life in Laos can return back to normal. However for this to happen it is imperative that people follow the lockdown instructions and get tested if they have been in contact with infected people or are suffering COVID symptoms. If you need to be tested, please call the COVID hotline on 166 or 165. 

For now, stay home, stay safe, and together we can get through this difficult period. 


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.