Garment Association President Makes Statement on Covid-19 Spread at Factories

President of Garment Association Makes Statement on Factory Outbreaks
A garment factory in Laos (Photo: Oxfam).

The President of the Lao Garments Association has given a statement regarding recent outbreaks of Covid-19 at garment factories in Vientiane Capital.

Outbreaks of Covid-19 among workers at several garment factories in the nation’s capital have caused a surge in community spread of the virus, prompting the city to go into full lockdown on 19 September.

A major outbreak at the Alpilao garment factory in Nongtha Neua Village, Chanthabouly District, affected hundreds of people in the capital and spread as far as Xieng Khouang Province.

According to reports on social media, some residents believed that a Thai national employed as a machine repairman at the Alpilao factory kickstarted the outbreak.

However, Dr. Xaybandith Raspone, President of the Lao Garments Association, gave an interview with Lao National Radio clarifying the situation.

He said that the machine repairman employed by Alpilao is a citizen of Laos, however, he used poor judgment in meeting and drinking with two Thai repairmen from another factory in violation of Covid-19 restrictions.

“One of the Thai nationals had been employed by Intimate Fashion RB (Laos) Co. Ltd for a period of eight years, while the other had been in Laos for two years. Neither of the two had returned to Thailand since the Covid-19 outbreak began,” said Dr. Xaybandith.

“After having close contact with the Lao repairman from the Alpilao factory, both Thai nationals tested positive for Covid-19,” added.

Dr. Xaybandith said he has issued the statement to clarify the situation and prevent fake news from spreading.

He said that all garment factories in Vientiane Capital had strictly followed Covid-19 prevention measures since the first outbreak began in 2020, with regular monitoring by both the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Health Department.

Between 80 – 90 percent of laborers employed by garment factories across Vientiane Capital had been fully vaccinated, according to Dr. Xaybandith, and those who had not received vaccines were either pregnant women or had other complications.

Dr. Xaybandith said that employees are being provided financial assistance during the quarantine period to ensure they have access to food and other necessities.

According to the National Taskforce, some 37.6% of workers at the Alpilao factory had tested positive for Covid-19 by Tuesday.