Source: Vientiane Times
A second patient hospitalised with Covid-19 was discharged and allowed to go home, authorities announced yesterday afternoon.
The patient was a Lao national aged 19, who returned to Laos on March 22 from the United Kingdom where she was studying and was admitted to Mittaphab Hospital after developing symptoms of the virus on April 7 and testing positive.
After spending nine days in the hospital, tests returned a negative result and she was given the green light to go home.
She was the 14th person to be confirmed as carrying the virus.
The remaining 17 patients – 14 being treated at Mittaphab Hospital and another three at Luang Prabang provincial hospital – have only mild symptoms, Deputy Head of the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak, told the daily media briefing.
Given that none of the patients is seriously ill, the Deputy Director of Mittaphab Hospital, Dr Vangnakhone Dittaphong, told the briefing that he expected good news of more recoveries in the coming days.
Meanwhile, there have been no more confirmed cases of the virus for four consecutive days, a positive indication that raises hopes of a possible early easing of the lockdown, which the government has extended for another 14 days until May 3.
Health authorities are closely monitoring two main groups of people for symptoms of the virus. These are people who came into close contact with former and current hospital patients, and the thousands of Lao workers who returned from Thailand, where the virus is widespread.
If no new cases occur among these two groups in the next 10 days, this is a strong indication that Laos has brought the disease under control, said Dr Phouthone, who is Deputy Minister of Health.
What needs to be done is to intensify checks to prevent the virus from being brought into Laos by people crossing the country’s borders, he added.
However, the government has closed all international and local border crossings as part of the preventive lockdown measures under Prime Minister’s Order No. 6, which has been extended for 14 days until May 3.
Essential transport and trips are still permitted so that sufficient food and other goods can be brought into Laos.
“If things go as expected, (the lockdown) can be eased before 14 days,” Dr Phouthone said.
He explained that there had been no new cases for four consecutive days and that if this continues for another 10 consecutive days by April 26, the lockdown could be eased.
Confirmation that there had been no new cases came after all 23 samples tested on April 15 yielded negative results. Two of the people tested had been in close contact with Covid-19 patients, while 21 others developed symptoms including a worker who returned from Thailand.
Since March 20, more than 113,400 Lao nationals have returned from Thailand – a popular destination for people seeking employment – via various border crossings.
Some 2,142 quanrantine centres have been set up in districts across the country, which have accomodated 68,534 of the returnees. The others have undergone self-quarantine at home.
With many having completed the 14-day quarantine period at official centres, 29,161 people are still in quarantine at 1,929 centres.
A total of 115 people in these centres have been tested for the virus, with all giving negative results.
Overall, some 1,288 people had been tested as of yesterday, including the 19 people admitted to hospital.