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Taskforce Orders Tougher Action To Curb Escalating Covid Outbreak

Source: Vientiane Times

The National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control has told its provincial bodies to intensify action to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, which is spreading rapidly.

Vientiane and all 17 provinces across the country have now imposed lockdowns. Although Attapeu, Xaysomboun and Huaphan provinces have not yet recorded any cases of the virus, provincial authorities have joined other provinces in ordering a lockdown as a precaution.

The total number of confirmed cases stood at 672 as of April 29 after dozens of new cases were recorded daily in recent days. Fifty people have been discharged from hospitals while 622 are undergoing observation or treatment.

The national taskforce on Wednesday held a videoconference with its provincial bodies asking local authorities to step up attempts to curb the outbreak.

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Head of the national taskforce Prof. Dr Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune told meeting participants to urgently trace those thought to have had close contact with infected people so they could be tested for the virus.

Provincial authorities were told to continue to patrol borders to prevent people from entering Laos illegally, as this increases the risk of spreading the virus.

Prof. Dr Kikeo, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, stressed the need to inspect venues which have been closed, to ensure they comply with the order.

He also instructed accelerated rollout of the vaccination programme so that targets are reached or even exceeded.

As of April 27, some 149,176 people had received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while 61,572 have had their second dose.

As the number of infections surges, authorities are setting up makeshift hospitals in various parts of Vientiane to ensure that everyone with the virus has access to healthcare.

Prof. Dr Kikeo called for full-scale preparations to tackle the outbreak including facilities for the isolation and treatment of infected people, equipment, and personnel.

“When the necessary essentials have been figured out, quickly coordinate with the national taskforce,” he told meeting participants.

Provincial authorities were told to draw up plans outlining the budget and equipment needed for Covid-19 prevention and control and to submit the plans to the national taskforce which will then forward them to the government for consideration.

Authorities were advised to continue to raise awareness among local communities to encourage people to strictly observe virus prevention and control measures.

Prof. Dr Kikeo also told provincial authorities to draw up additional prevention and control measures as needed in line with local circumstances.

He called for action to counter fake news concerning the Covid-19 outbreak and for penalties to be meted out to people who circulated misinformation and who violated Covid-19 prevention and control rules.