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More Family Members, Older People Contract Covid-19

Source: Vientiane Times

More and more family members and older people are developing Covid-19 due to failure to comply with measures imposed to contain the spread of the virus.

“Earlier on, infections were reported among groups of people who went to places also visited by the 59th person to contract the virus,” Director General of the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology, Dr Phonepadith Sangxayarath, told a press conference on Wednesday.

“However, more infections are now occurring among family members and older people, posing a serious health risk and increasing the severity of symptoms, which in some cases could be fatal.”

“Over the past two weeks, the virus has appeared in family groups because people failed to self-isolate while waiting for the results of a Covid-19 test. Some people went to at-risk areas and brought the virus back to their families,” Dr Phonepadith said.

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Since March last year, authorities have identified 1,417 Covid-19 cases in Laos, with 55 new cases recorded on Wednesday after 4,985 samples were tested for the virus.

The largest number of new infections was reported in Bokeo province with 25 cases, followed by Champassak province (21 cases, all imported) and Vientiane (9 cases).

The number of new cases is spiking in Bokeo province, particularly in Tonpheung district, despite reinforced measures to keep the virus in check.

One of the main problems is that many people are disobeying the lockdown rules while others are bringing foreigners into Tonpheung district, resulting in the spread of the virus.

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According to Dr Phonepadith, of the total 1,417 infections recorded to date, 170 were identified among people entering Laos from other countries.

“Twenty-five of those infected are under the age of 19 and the youngest person to contract the virus was a two-month-old baby,” he said.

“In other age groups, 23 people over the age of 60 have contracted the virus, as well as six people over the age of 70. Basically, 70 percent of all those who picked up the virus are aged 20 to 39.”

The virus is now spreading through communities. In one community in Naxay village in Vientiane’s Xaysettha district, 70 people contracted the virus and one person died.

Deputy Director General of the Department of Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Dr Bouathep Phoumin, has warned that all Lao people must act responsibly and band together if the virus is to be contained.

“Diagnosis must be accurate while patients need to cooperate fully with doctors. Everyone must comply with government guidelines to contain the virus,” she said.

Globally, more than 160 million people have contracted the virus and over 3.3 million deaths have been reported so far, according to the National Covid-19 Taskforce.

The largest number of infections have occurred in the United States, followed by India, Brazil and France.