Laos is seeking both international and domestic support to prevent the spread of the new Coronavirus which has infected at least 24,300 people and killed more than 490 across the globe.
The Lao Health Minister Associate Professor Bounkong Syhavong met with the country’s development partners on 4 February to ask for their support to enhance Laos’ capacity to combat the deadly virus, Vientiane Times reported.
Representatives of Australia, Japan, China, Luxembourg, South Korea, United States, Thailand, the European Union, World Health Organization, UNICEF, World Bank, Asia Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Korea International Cooperation Agency, LUX-D and United States Agency for International Development attended the meeting.
Essential medical supplies, especially the equipment and materials needed to test for the virus, were among the requests made by the Lao government to the international community to be urgently delivered to the provinces.
Separately, the Mayor of Vientiane Capital, Dr. Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune, has said all nine district hospitals in the capital should open information centers that can provide the public with helpful advice about ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
The info centers would offer free information about the virus, provide referrals, and answer questions put by members of the public while linking between health professionals who can best answer questions about the virus and people who need advice, reassurance, and information, according to Vientiane Times.
Dr. Sinlavong stressed that the challenge now is to prevent people infected with the virus from entering Laos.
He added that many people do not have information about ways to prevent the spread of or protect themselves against the virus.
Therefore, it was essential that practical information be available to everyone and that all local residents should be able to get advice at district hospitals or health centers, he noted.
Laos set up a task force to prevent an outbreak of the Coronavirus in Laos has begun its work in preventing and controlling the virus.
The task force convened its first meeting on 3 February, attended by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, who urged the committee to speed up public awareness-raising and the testing of suspected cases.
Vientiane’s Mittaphab Hospital and 103 Hospital will both become designated health centers used to diagnose and treat suspected or confirmed cases of the virus, while extra support will be provided to provincial hospitals so they can be prepared to deal with any case.
Laos has still not confirmed any cases of the new Coronavirus, after 13 patients, including four Chinese nationals, suspected of infection turned up negative test results.