Private Schools in Laos Close on Fears of Coronavirus

Email story
Comment on this story
Print story
A Loatian schoolgirl wipes her faces as tiredness starts to show as she watches a parade on National Day in the capital, Vientiane, in a file photo.
A Loatian schoolgirl wipes her faces as tiredness starts to show as she watches a parade on National Day in the capital, Vientiane, in a file photo.

Several private schools, most in Laos’ capital Vientiane, have closed down as fears over the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (nCoV) take hold in the Southeast Asian country, state media reported on Wednesday.

According to a report in the Vientiane Times, Director General of the Ministry of Education and Sports’ General Education Department Sisouk Vongvichit confirmed that the ministry was aware of the school closings.

“It is fine for schools to close in view of the current situation. But they must ensure that their teaching goals are achieved,” she said.

She added that the ministry did not currently have plans to order those schools to remain open because it was a private decision of each school’s management, and there was no need to order other schools to follow suit because there are no reports of the virus’ spread in Laos.

The Vientiane Times report also said that on Monday, Lao Health authorities said there were no cases and there were no confirmed infections in Laos, but the Ministry of Education and Sports advised teachers and students to monitor the situation and to look to the Ministry of Health for updates.

The postponement of spring semester in China, however, has affected several Lao students in that country. China’s Ministry of Education has not yet announced new start dates for the semester, which would normally start after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Flights to China suspended

Lao Airlines, meanwhile, has temporarily suspended several direct flight routes to China as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised citizens to avoid traveling to countries where the virus is spreading.

The announcement came as the number of newly confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, officially termed nCoV-2019 (Wuhan) by the World Health Organization (WHO), jumped to 6,057 from 4,409 only a day earlier.

The virus has killed 132 people to date, with 125 of those deaths in the central Chinese province of Hubei, of which Wuhan is the provincial capital. Laos shares a 420 km (262 mile) long border with China and many Chinese have moved to Laos for work in recent years.

The Vientiane-Shanghai route was suspended Thursday, while Vientiane-Hangzhou will be halted starting Feb. 5, and Vientiane-Changzhou will be held from Feb. 8.

A Lao Airlines official told RFA’s Lao Service Wednesday that another announcement would follow after updates from the Chinese government.

Two more flight routes originating in Luangprabang. to Hainan and Shanghai, are also suspended.

However, Luangprabang flights to Kunming, Changsha, and Jinghong remain open according to an official at the Luangprabang airport.

”Luangprabang-Shanghai and Luangprabang-Hainan start closing down today. [The flight] to Hainan will be open until March,” the official told RFA Wednesday, adding, “Luangprabang to Kunming still operating as normal.”

Reported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Manichanh Phimphachanh. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

Comments (6)

Anonymous Reader

Singapore is checking every single Chinese coming in Singapore. While Laos is not because it's a safe place and free from coronavirus. Kenneth you can go to Laos and you don't even have to cover your face. Just buy life insurance before you come. That's it!

Feb 06, 2020 02:03 AM

Kenneth Vaithilingam

from Singapore

Going to Vientiane in March for 4 days holidays, do you think it's safe?

Feb 04, 2020 10:39 PM

Hum Nyai

Latest reports show Laos has no Virus because all the people who were tested were Laotion living in Laos. Why not test the Chinese who are coming into Laos instead like all other countries. All other countries have the virus because they are testing the Chinese travelers entering their country and finding them infected. All those Chinese coming into Laos who are infected probably wont want to be known as being infected as they know if they are isolated in Lao hospital they will die alot quicker than the virus infecting them.

Feb 04, 2020 10:18 PM

World Watcher

from Watching U

Private school are closing because these are for Rich people Can not be sick or die from the Virus ONLY PUBLIC Schools are open because those are for Poor People let them catch the virus

Feb 02, 2020 04:19 PM


from Attapeu

What about all the car and trucks entering by land border, they say a lot of cars from Wuhan has entered in recent days, is it true ?

Jan 30, 2020 12:46 AM

View all comments.





More Listening Options

View Full Site