The Phnom Penh Post

Official warns Laos ‘still at high risk’ of major outbreak


ALTHOUGH the number of new Covid cases is continuing to fall, further community outbreaks remain a great concern in Lao capital Vientiane.

In addition, a large number of new cases are being reported in neighbouri­ng countries, especially in Thailand, where the Indian variant of the virus has been found in Udon Thani province, not far from the Lao border.

According to a report in Thailand’s The Nation newspaper, the daily death toll from Covid-19 reached a new June high of 43 deaths on June 10, with 2,310 new infections. Of the total new Covid-19 cases, 102 have occurred in prisons.

“Laos is still placed at a high risk for a major outbreak,” Ministry of Health deputy director-general for Communicab­le Disease Control Dr Sisavath Southanila­xay told a press conference on June 10.

“We need to comply with all of the government’s guidelines to contain the spread of the virus, otherwise we won’t overcome the Covid-19 crisis.”

As of June 10, 1,975 Covid19 cases have been recorded in Laos after four new infections were reported that day. These occurred in Vientiane (two) and Champasak province (two imported cases). Meanwhile, at least 1,800 people have been discharged from hospitals.

The good news is that authoritie­s have traced a 57year-old man who tested positive for the virus on June 9. Health officials had not been able to get in touch with the man after getting the test result because of inaccuraci­es in his contact details.

An appeal went out on social media in a bid to track him down before he could pass on the virus to other people. He was eventually traced to Nongsanokh­am village in Vientiane’s Sikhottabo­ng district.

Two other people had been in close contact with him, one of whom also tested positive on June 10 while the other was placed in quarantine. As a result, authoritie­s have classified Nongsanokh­am village as a new red zone, bring the total number of red zones (villages with one or more infections) in Vientiane to 18.

Another person who was identified as having the virus on June 10 lives in an apartment in Tamixay village, Xaythany district. Tamixay remains a red zone, with authoritie­s blocking the road into the village to prevent people entering and leaving, except for essential purposes such as to buy food and medicine.

Members of the public have been urged to follow government guidelines until no new case has been reported for a period of 28 days. Anyone who has come into contact with an infected individual should get tested for the virus.

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