The Lao Ministry of Health has said the case of a British national believed to be infected with the new Coronavirus (Covid-19) is fake news.
A social media post went viral yesterday claiming that a British national traveling from London on Vietnam Airlines had tested positive for Coronavirus, or Covid-19, before arriving in Luang Prabang.
The rumor continued that a further five tourists traveling with the woman had also tested positive for the virus.
The Lao Ministry of Health has called upon news agencies and websites to immediately cease the spread of misinformation and asks the population to study news and information carefully before sharing online, according to a report in local daily, Vientiane Mai.
At a press conference held yesterday at the Ministry of Health on the protection from and prevention of Covid-19, Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under the Ministry of Health, Dr. Lattanaxay Phetsouvanh, said, “Officials from Laos have been in touch with officials from Vietnam regarding this case. While some of the passengers had previously shared a flight with a victim of Covid-19 in Vietnam, upon landing in Luang Prabang all passengers were properly tested for Covid-19 and results were negative.”
Health officials in Laos will closely monitor the passengers for a full fourteen days, and have called upon the community to remain calm and have faith in the work of the ministry, who are actively following procedures at international standards as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Lattanaxay Phetsouvanh reassured reporters that health officials will remain fully transparent with respect to the information provided regarding suspected cases of Covid-19.
He said that reports of six Lao students returning from Vietnam, and two people with symptoms similar to that of Covid-19 returning to a rubber plantation in southern Laos were also the result of misinformation spread online.