Laos Bans Import of Thai Seafood After Covid-19 Outbreak

VIENTIANE, Dec 26 (Vietiane Times/ANN): Laos has temporarily banned the import of seafood from Thailand after a new outbreak of Covid-19 in the kingdom.

Health authorities are concerned that seafood could be contaminated with the virus,so imports have been halted with immediate effect.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce banned the import of fresh and frozen seafood from Thailand beginning from Friday (Dec 24).

The ban was implemented after Thailand’s Samut Sakhon district became the epicentre of a new Covid-19 outbreak, with over 1,000 people testing positive after a shrimp wholesaler contracted the virus last week.

The ban has had a direct effect on seafood importers in Laos. Before the pandemic struck, this business was recording strong growth due to the increasing popularity of seafood among Lao people, business operators said.

Lao authorities are monitoring seafood importers in Vientiane and the provinces, including Champassak, and checking containers for potential source of Covid-19.

Under the ministry’s order, authorities have called on all officials and local residents to comply with the measure by not buying seafood from Thailand and not eating such products.

Provincial bodies are working with district officials to monitor Lao-Thai border crossings to prevent seafood products entering Laos.

This is a temporary measure and will remain in place until officials from Laos and Thailand take steps to ensure the safety of seafood imported from Thailand.

The ministry’s Food and Drug Department is responsible for coordination between Lao and Thai authorities as they work to find a solution.

From January to December 23, a total of 82,824 people were tested in Laos for Covid-19 and 41 were found to be carrying the virus.

Laos has imposed uniform standards of self-monitoring and quarantine for the staff of international organisations, business executives, and general workers. A 14-day period of self-monitoring is required for everyone entering Laos with no Covid-19 symptoms.

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