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Avoid Parties As COVID-19 Cases Hit 18 / 11.4.2020

Source: Vientiane Times

The National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Saturday urged members of the public to avoid parties during the Lao New Year break as this could lead to a rapid increase in virus cases.

“Next week will be the Lao New Year festival, and we [the committee] would like to call on everyone to pay great attention to the implementation of the PM’s order No. 6,” the committee Deputy Head, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak said at a COVID-19 update press conference on Saturday. 

“The order emphasises the need for people not to travel, stay at their residences as much as possible, practise social distancing, avoid large parties as well as stay away from religious ceremonies, which many people attend,” he said.   

Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone, who is also Deputy Minister of Health, made the public appeal after announcing two more confirmed COVID-19 cases in Laos at a media conference in Vientiane on April 11 bringing the total verified infections to 18.

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One of the two latest cases involves a 32-year-old woman who shares the same accommodation building with the 16th case in Nongduangthong village. On April 4, she also dined with the 16th case along with two other friends.

The 17th case began to develop flu-like symptoms on April 7, including fever, cough and body aches. She did not seek medical treatment but self-medicated to relieve her symptoms. On top of that, she also dined with four other friends.

On April 8 and 9, she continued to suffer the symptoms and rested at home. 

On April 10, Lao authorities took her to hospital for testing after the 16th case revealed the names of those she had been in close contact with. The test result was positive, and she was put in hospital isolation for further treatment.

The 18th case is a 32-year-old woman who was in close contact with the 17th case and authorities took both to hospital at the same time.

Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone said the latest two COVID-19 infections indicated that some people were oblivious to the dangers of the deadly virus and the committee’s rules.

He also said some individuals suspected of being infected with the virus did not self-isolate while many people went out and dined with friends. He said such behaviour could lead to an expansion of coronavirus cases.

According to Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone, the government was aware of the situation and is expected to introduce tougher measures to control the spread of the virus in the coming days.