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Champassak Runs Out Of Covid Treatment Facilities

Source: Vientiane Times

Champassak province is running out of facilities to accommodate people who test positive for Covid-19, with many infected Lao nationals now returning from Thailand.

On Thursday, 69 new cases of Covid were reported in Laos, bringing the total number to 2,469, with most being identified in Champassak.

The southern province is a point of entry for many people returning from Thailand. The new infections were identified after 1,610 samples were tested the previous day.

One case was reported in Luang Namtha province while Khammuan recorded three imported cases.

Savannakhet reported 30 imported cases and Champassak recorded 35 imported cases, the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control announced on Thursday.

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Champassak authorities have asked Covid-19 taskforces in provinces across the country to arrange to collect people whose homes are in their provinces after they have entered Laos at the Vangtao-Chong Mek border crossing. They should then be placed in quarantine in their home province so that facilities in Champassak do not become overloaded.

Head of Champassak province’s Health Department, Dr Viengsy Souphakdy, said at least 100 people are passing through the Vangtao-Chong Mek border crossing each day. They are automatically sent to local quarantine centres, which are now full.

There are currently three places that provide treatment for the virus but these are now insufficient because many returning migrant workers have brought the virus with them, Dr Viengsy added.

People with the virus can be admitted to Phonthong district hospital, which can accommodate 81 people, while the Km21 temporary hospital can accommodate 113 people. These two hospitals are now full and the only other health facility is the 106 Hospital which can accommodate 40 people, Lao National Radio reported on July 7. Champassak authorities plan to turn the southern finance college into a temporary hospital, but it can accommodate only a small number of people, Dr Viengsy said.

Authorities are urging people returning to Laos to avoid using the Vangtao-Chong Mek border crossing and to use other border crossings instead.

To slow the virus outbreak, the government is rolling out a vaccination programme to immunise as many people as possible.

However, people who have been vaccinated are encouraged to continue to comply with the virus prevention measures laid down by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, especially with regard to social distancing.

Covid-19 taskforces around the country ask everyone to follow the lockdown rules with regard to travel restrictions and social gatherings, as these may cause people who are unaware they are carrying the virus to pass it on to others.