The UK has updated its travel advice for Laos amid the new coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak, despite no cases yet having been confirmed in the country.
In its latest overseas travel advice update on March 5, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said travelers who have returned from northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos since February 19 and have developed symptoms, however mild, should stay indoors at home, avoid contact with other people immediately, and call NHS 111.
“This advice does not need to be followed if there are no symptoms,” the FCO added.
The UK is among the first leading economies that issued such advice on Laos. The United States still puts Laos in a group of “Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions,” which means it is safe to travel to countries in this group.
Laos held a meeting with foreign diplomats and representatives of international organizations on March 5 to reconfirm that the country remains free of the virus, with all suspected cases diagnosed negative, Vientiane Times reported.
At the meeting, in response to a question as to whether the virus could be present but undetected, Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Phouthone Muongpak said Laos has an adequate surveillance system whose network covers all provinces across the country.
Citing news that there were deaths in northern Phongsaly province and in a southern province, Dr. Phouthone said a team was dispatched to collect samples for diagnosis.
Regarding a question raised by a foreign representative as to what extent Laos is confident that no one in the country has contracted the virus, he said the country is confident in its surveillance system.