Lao health authorities are concerned that seafood could be contaminated with the virus, so imports have been halted with immediate effect.
The ban was implemented on December 24 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.
Lao seafood importers said they were hit by the ban. Before the pandemic struck, the seafood business was recording strong growth due to the increasing popularity of seafood among Lao people.
According to Vientiane Times, the 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 authorities 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.
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.