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Vientiane Residents Express Dissatisfaction with Lockdown Measures

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Residents in Vientiane Capital have expressed unhappiness with some of the limitations imposed as part of the sudden shutdown that began on Sunday.

Residents of Vientiane Capital are barred from leaving their houses or going within the city save for critical duties such as shopping for food, obtaining medicine, or visiting hospitals under the new lockdown, which will last until September 30.


After many citizens failed to stay at home, police strengthened checkpoints in Vientiane Capital yesterday to reduce traffic in the city.


Meanwhile, the Department of Industry and Commerce ordered supermarkets and other retailers to close on Monday in an effort to reduce crowding at shops and markets, which had the unintended effect of causing even more crowding as residents rushed to buy household goods before the order went into effect.


Authorities promptly overturned their decision, issuing a new order yesterday allowing supermarkets and minimarts to reopen with severe limits on the number of shoppers and hours of operation, ostensibly acknowledging the problem.


Many locals, however, are disappointed with how the lockdown was implemented, claiming that they did not have enough time to prepare due to a lack of planning and hasty facility closures.


Hundreds of automobiles took to the roads yesterday, causing police to strengthen checkpoints across the city, according to local news outlets.


“We don't want to breach the government's lockdown,” one guy told the Laotian Times, “but we don't have a choice because many companies have remained open.” If we don't show up for work, our salary will be lowered and we won't get any help,” he explained.


According to a retailer in Vientiane, she is unable to close her shop as ordered by authorities because she requires revenue in order to repay a loan she took out to purchase a car. She claims there is no mechanism in place at the finance institution to help debtors during the lockdown time.


“What good is a rigorous lockdown if the government fails to provide us with even the most basic of services?

“Many of us have had issues since the first Covid-19 outbreak and have been struggling ever since,” she explained.


Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, the Lao Minister of Health, addressed these concerns yesterday, saying that the benefits of the lockdown outweigh the expenses.


Dr. Bounfeng explained, “What we get out of the shutdown is a society that is protected from the unregulated proliferation of Covid-19.”


“The next stage is to ensure people's health, safety, and well-being, as well as to lessen hospital overcrowding and the pressure on medical professionals, quarantine facilities, and authorities,” he continued.


While Laos has implemented various financial regulations and tax incentives for some firms, the general population is unaware of how to obtain aid or what forms of assistance are available.


Simultaneously, state-run utilities such as power and water supplies have not been discounted as they have been in prior lockdowns, causing problems for the most needy.

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