Dr. Xayphone Nanthaphone, Head of Vientiane Capital’s Health Department, discusses the situation regarding the returning Lao laborers in quarantine centers in an interview.
Host: How many Lao laborers have returned from abroad?
Dr. Xayphone: Since March 23, over 5100 returning Lao laborers have crossed Lao-Friendship Bridge 1 (Vientiane-Nongkhai) into Vientiane, of which over 2400 are residents of Vientiane Capital.
Host: Have they been quarantined since their return?
Dr. Xayphone: We classified individuals according to where they lived and sent them to be placed under the supervision of their respective district authorities. They are being placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
Host: How many quarantine centers are there in Vientiane Capital?
Dr. Xayphone: In Vientiane Capital, there is one quarantine center per district. Furthermore, some districts are able to requisition schools in their villages and turn it into multiple centers.
Host: How is the Vientiane Health Department performing screenings?
Dr. Xayphone: We sent our medical team to set up camps at Lao-Friendship Bridge 1 to handle the returning laborers. We performed temperature screenings, took their medical information for follow up, as well as educated them on proper health and preventive measures before placing them under the care of the district authorities.
Host: Do we suspect anyone to be infected at any of the quarantine centers?
Dr. Xayphone: There were five people currently with symptoms like fever, similar to those of COVID-19. At the Sikhotthabong District center, there were two that have symptoms. There is also one at Done Noun (National University of Laos). In Pakngum district, there was another. Another was suspected at the Nakuay center in Saysettha district. All have been tested at Mittaphab Hospital. The results were all negative.
Host: What are the conditions of those suspected individuals now?
Dr. Xayphone: They are doing better. They have returned to their respective centers.
Host: Are each of these suspected individuals isolated within the center?
Dr. Xayphone: Yes, those suspected of being infected (with symptoms) are isolated within a particular center so they are far from others. Their symptoms are monitored.
Host: Have some returning laborers been allowed to return home? Do you have statistics on the number of people at each center?
Dr. Xayphone: Those that have completed their 14-day quarantine period will be permitted to return home. The statistics from the villages/districts are still being determined. Moreover, there are those individuals who have returned from abroad on their own who are not within the capital’s supervision. This makes the data somewhat incomplete.
Host: How have the centers been keeping watch of the situation?
Dr. Xayphone: Since the increased spread of the virus in Laos, we have stepped up our countermeasures and are on standby. We have established a city-level taskforce committee to coordinate health affairs within the capital and have delegated district-level committees with the duty of supervising the village administrations within their purview.
The full interview can be seen below.