Source: Vientiane Times
A total of 82 people who were displaying Covid-19 symptoms and had close contact with patients all tested negative for the coronavirus yesterday, meaning that there are no new cases, authorities said today.
The number of confirmed cases remains at 16, Deputy Head of the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak, told the daily news briefing.
Thirty-two of those tested yesterday had been in close contact with Covid-19 patients, while another 50 were new suspects.
Overall, some 1,035 samples were tested from January until April 9 including those taken from the 16 people identified as carrying the virus.
From March 23-April 9, health officials monitored 303 people who had been in close contact with those who had fallen ill. Of these, 218 people have completed the 14-day monitoring period and health officials are continuing to observe the other 85 people.
Of those tested yesterday, none were among the workers who had recently returned to Laos from Thailand. This group is being closely monitored following their return from the neighbouring country, which has been hard hit by the outbreak.
Thousands of Lao migrant workers have returned home in recent days or weeks, with most coming from Thailand following prevention and control measures imposed by authorities there.
Health officials have scanned the returnees and instructed them to quarantine themselves at special government centres or in their own homes. Those with Covid-19 like symptoms were taken to hospitals and tested.
More than 60,000 people are being held at 1,661 quarantine centres set up by the government, while more than 21,000 are in quarantine at home, according to Dr Phouthone.
But challenges remain in preventing the spread of the virus including the fact that some people are thoughtless and have ignored the prevention and control measures that have been imposed, particularly regarding self-quarantining.
“This means that the outbreak is widening,” said Dr Phouthone, who is Deputy Minister of Health.
In addition, some organisations and individuals have travelled to outbreak countries, despite the fact that the taskforce committee has prohibited this.
Worse, those who travelled did not quarantine themselves or did not fully observe the quarantine measures upon their return.
In addition, some people have brought foreign tour groups to Laos in violation of the prohibition.
With the approach of the Lao New Year holiday from April 13-16, Dr Phouthone called for people from all walks of lives to strictly observe the ruling on restrictions relating to movement as stated in Prime Minister’s Order No. 6, which requires everyone to stay at home until April 19.
He advised people to practise social distancing and to avoid public gatherings or crowded places.
As of 6 am today, the pandemic had spread to 209 countries and territories, infecting almost 1.6 million people and producing more than 80,000 new cases, according to Dr Phouthone.
The disease has claimed more than 95,000 lives including more than 7,000 new deaths.