Laos Records First Locally-Transmitted Case Of Omicron

Source: Vientiane Times

The National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control has warned the public to be vigilant following the identification of the first locally-transmitted case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Borikhamxay province.

Borikhamxay authorities convened an urgent meeting to discuss the possibility of a temporary lockdown in some districts, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

Although it appears inevitable that Omicron will spread in Laos, this variant of Covid-19 is not as virulent as the Delta variant because it does not attack the lungs and cause serious respiratory illness. 

To date, 27 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in Laos since the first case was identified on January 6 in a passenger who arrived on a flight from Malaysia, the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control said on Wednesday.

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At least 108 countries have detected cases of the highly transmissible strain while more than 33 provinces in Thailand have recorded cases.

Deputy Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control, under the Ministry of Health, and a member of the taskforce, Dr Sisavath Soutthanilaxay, said the number of Covid infections overall is continuing to decline.

The latest person to test positive for Omicron was a 60-year-old woman whose test carried out at Borikhamxay provincial hospital indicated the presence of the Omicron BA.1 variant.

The woman did not have a history of travel, and health officials are currently tracing her contacts.

Although the number of infections and deaths from Covid is trending downwards, people must remain vigilant and continue to take precautions, Dr Sisavath said.

Covid prevention measures remain in place and everyone is urged to continue to wear a facemask, use hand sanitiser, and observe the rules on social distancing.

Authorities are enforcing Covid prevention measures at border crossings and screening everyone entering Laos, with new arrivals being tested and quarantined.

On Wednesday, 2,432 samples were analysed nationwide, of which 253 returned positive results. Of the positive cases, 28 were among people entering Laos.

To date, 141,694 cases of Covid have been reported in Laos. The most recent figures indicate that 471 people were discharged from hospitals and 1,859 recovered from the virus. In total, 616 Covid-related deaths have been recorded, with three more people dying in the past day.