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Widespread Outbreak Expected In Champassak As Delta Variant Reported

Source: Vientiane Times

Champassak province is facing an outbreak of Covid-19 in Pathoumphon district, which is expected to be more severe than the first outbreak in Pakxe city because the new cases involve the Delta variant of the virus.

Head of Champassak province’s Health Department, Dr Viengsy Souphakdee, said authorities are ramping up testing for people who have come into contact with individuals known to be infected, and will test everyone living in villages thought to be at risk in Pathoumphon district.

Locally-transmitted cases were reported in the district at the start of September for the second time, after the first cases were reported in April. But this outbreak is expected to be more widespread because most of the people infected have tested positive for the Delta variant and do not have symptoms of Covid, Dr Viengsy said.

Local authorities believe that the virus has been circulating in Pathoumphon district for about a month but people were unaware they had picked up the disease because they had no symptoms.

The virus was only detected when some health workers began to show symptoms recently.

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Authorities will speed up testing for people living in virus-risk areas and people known to have had contact with positive cases, in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading.

The health department has warned people to carry out the recommendations of the Covid-19 taskforce to keep the virus in check, especially by avoiding social gatherings.

Provincial authorities have ordered lockdowns in areas considered to be at risk of virus outbreaks, including Pakxe city and Khong district.

On Wednesday the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control announced 211 new cases of Covid-19 countrywide, bringing the total to 16,576.

Champassak province recorded 15 imported and 16 locally-transmitted cases, Vientiane recorded 16 imported and seven locally-transmitted cases, and Bokeo province recorded five locally-transmitted cases.

Luang Prabang recorded six imported and two locally-transmitted cases, while Khammuan recorded 10 imported and 30 locally-transmitted cases.

Saravan recorded 34 imported and seven locally-transmitted cases and Savannakhet recorded 53 imported cases and 10 locally-transmitted cases.

To slow the virus outbreak, the government is rolling out the vaccination programme as quickly as possible in the hope of immunising 50 percent of the adult population by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, people who have been vaccinated are encouraged to continue to comply with the virus prevention measures laid down by the National Covid-19 Taskforce, especially with regard to social distancing.