Some Provinces to Reach Level Three Status as Covid-19 Outbreaks Worsen in Laos

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Levels of Transmission in Laos

The National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control said in an announcement that some provinces facing community spread are close to reaching Level Three Alert status.

Covid-19 is an infectious respiratory condition triggered by the SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus strain. It is highly transmissible and the global outbreak was therefore declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March, 2020.

The first cases in Laos occurred in March 2020, however, the outbreak was able to be controlled for most of the year, with the nation declaring a temporary victory over the virus in June 2020 when the country recorded no new cases in 59 days.

However, the second wave of Covid-19 hit the country in March this year, as a massive outbreak in Thailand resulted in the return to Laos of hundreds of thousands of people living as migrant laborers in Thailand.

Returning migrant workers brought new strains of the coronavirus with them, including the highly transmissible Delta Variant, which is now causing community spread across almost every province in Laos.

According to the Lao Ministry of Health, a system of Alert Levels or Stages of Transmission is used to measure the severity of an outbreak in any one province.

Levels of Transmission

Level Zero: No clear sign of imported or community transmitted cases of Covid-19 within the past 28 days.

Level One: An outbreak of Covid-19 caused by imported cases or cases connected to imported cases with no clear sign of any community transmitted cases.

Level Two: An outbreak of Covid-19 in any one location or population with no clear evidence of the outbreak being widespread.

Level Three: Community transmission of Covid-19 is not restricted to any one location or population and there is an indication that the transmission will be widespread and continuous.

Dr. Latsamy Vongkhamsao said in today’s announcement by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control that many provinces in Laos have now reached Level Two, and a few provinces are close to reaching Level Three.

She did not state clearly which provinces are close to reaching level three, however, the number of cases of community transmission in Khammouane, Champsack, and Savannakhet has remained high over the past two weeks.

Vientiane Capital today saw 24 community cases of Covid-19, placing the nation’s capital at risk of a widespread outbreak if the virus cannot be controlled.