Laos is considering converting underused hotels into temporary hospitals, dubbed “hospitels,” in order to better cope with a rising number of Covid-19 patients.
The National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control has begun considering new options for containing the spread of Covid-19, including allowing people to self-isolate at home, and may even authorize self-treatment at home for some patients.
The Taskforce has now said that it is considering establishing hospitals at hotels, according to Lao Economic Daily, after field hospitals have faced criticism from the public for their poor and sometimes unsanitary conditions.
The use of hotels would also allow medical workers to more easily separate Covid patients, ensuring that the spread of the disease can be contained.
Director-General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control, Dr. Lattanaxay Phetsouvanh, was quoted by Vientiane Times as saying that the government has already set up makeshift facilities at hotels around the country.
He said that using hotels as field hospitals is safer than home treatment for the Lao population because each room is self-contained and includes a separate bathroom.
Meanwhile, medical officials in Laos are in talks with the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish a plan for the transition toward hospitels, self-care at home, and telephone consultations with doctors, according to Vientiane Times.
Hospitals in Vientiane are nearly overrun, with bed shortages and insufficient medical personnel causing major problems for Covid patients.
Under the current policy, people who test positive for Covid-19 in Laos must be taken to hospital for treatment and isolation, however, a shortage of beds has meant many have had to remain at home and self-isolate until space could be found at field hospitals.