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Chinese aid lands as Lao COVID-19 cases rise

A team of Chinese doctors and medical experts along with essential supplies have arrived in Vientiane to reinforce local authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of Lao cases rises.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Duangdy, and Minister of Health Associate Professor Dr Bounkong Syhavongon behalf of the Lao government officially greeted 12 doctors and medical experts at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane yesterday.
A senior member from the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control and representatives from the Chinese Embassy to Laos attended the official welcome ceremony, which was held in an atmosphere of warm friendship between Laos and China.
During the event, an official welcome banner hailed that China would stand beside Laos in the fight against COVID-19 as the two nations have committed to a shared future.
According to a media release from the Lao authorities, the Chinese doctors and medical experts will be working with Lao partners over the next 14 days. One of the major tasks was to help Lao authorities to screen and identify COVID-19 infected people, examine samples of suspected cases as well as to treat the patients.
On top of that, Chinese doctors and officials would share their experience and lessons with Lao partners, which will be utilised to fight the coronavirus.
China has witnessed a great deal of success in controlling COVID-19 over the past few months. After hard work, China has been able to stabilise the virus outbreak. The international community has expressed appreciation regarding China’s success in dealing with COVID-19. Previously, China handed over a package of medical supplies such as masks and COVID-19 test kits. The Jack-Ma Foundation has also donated 5,000 sets of protective clothing as well as N95 face masks, 400,000 standard face masks for medical personnel, and 20,000 virus detection sets to Laos.
China authorities have vowed to provide more aid to Laos based on actual needs in the fight against COVID-19. The arrival of the Chinese doctors took place as Laos has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country. According to a report from the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, the number cases rose to eight on Saturday, from only two cases last Tuesday, giving cause for the government to impose strict measures to control the disease. Over the past few months, the government has been working under pressure to prevent an outbreak as the Laos shares borders with nations which have witnessed rapid increases in COVID-19 cases.
In response to the evolving situation, the government has closed customary borders with neighbouring countries. However, another major concern is that rural communities face a high risk of an outbreak due to the large inflow of Lao labourers returning from Thailand where COVID-19 cases have risen rapidly.

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy
(Latest Update March 30, 2020)

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