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Free Testing For Medically Screened COVID-19 Cases

Source: Vientiane Times

The public, including foreign nationals in the country, suspected by medical personnel of carrying COVID-19 will be tested free of charge, according to a leading health official.

The information was relayed by Director-General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control, Dr Rattanaxay Phetsouvanh when addressing a press conference on Friday while reiterating there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Laos.

If a doctor determines a patient has symptoms matching COVID-19 or travel history to at risk locations, then they can be referred to receive testing free of charge. Individuals insisting on being tested without an official referral from a doctor will have to pay.

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“Testing is needed to stem the spread of the disease. Health officials will test only people suspected of carrying the virus. We don’t have enough budget for testing for all,” Dr Rattanaxay said.

COVID-19 symptoms included fever, cough, sore throat or respiratory problems. If you have any flu-like symptoms after travelling to an outbreak area, testing was needed, he added.

The Ministry of Health has set up COVID-19 coordination units at hospitals nationwide to help monitor and prevent the spread of the virus.

People typically develop symptoms within 14 days after exposure to the virus. The risk of infection can be lowered by avoiding close contact with anyone with a fever, cough, sore throat or respiratory problems; covering one’s mouth when coughing, washing one’s hands with soap and using hand gel, and avoiding contact with live or dead farm or wild animals, according to the ministry.