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City hospitals prepare to accept coronavirus patients

Mittaphab Hospital in Vientiane has medical staff on standby along with special equipment to treat people with the new coronavirus (nCoV) if any cases are suspected or confirmed.
The hospital’s preparedness was reported when Minister of Health Associate Professor Dr Bounkong Syhavong and his team visited the hospital last week.
Mittaphab Hospital (Friendship Hospital) and Mahosot Hospital are the two hospitals in the city that have been designated to treat anyone who contracts the virus.
The Director of Mittaphab Hospital, Dr Sanong Thongsana, said the hospital has 10 isolation rooms, each of which can accommodate one person.
“We will work with other hospitals in Vientiane, especially 103 Hospital, if Mittaphab has more patients than we can handle,” he said.
While there are no known cases of the virus in Laos, the Ministry of Health advises anyone with flu-like symptoms who has travelled to an outbreak area or had any contact with an at-risk group to get in touch with hospital staff. The hospital will provide free treatment for anyone who contracts the virus.
Twelve people (nine Lao and three Chinese) suspected of carrying the virus were tested at the hospital but the tests were negative and 10 of them returned home. However, two of them (one Lao and one Chinese) are under observation in isolation rooms for a period of 14 days.
The hospital is closely cooperating with the Department of Communicable Disease Control, Ministry of Health, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in virus surveillance efforts.
The Ministry of Health is setting up coronavirus coordination units at hospitals nationwide to help monitor for and prevent the spread of the virus.
People typically develop symptoms within 14 days after exposure to the virus. The risk of infection can be lowered by avoiding close contact with a person with fever, cough, sore throat or respiratory problems, covering one’s mouth when coughing, washing one’s hands with soap or hand gel, and avoiding contact with live or dead farm or wild animals, according to the ministry.
If you have travelled to an outbreak area and develop symptoms after entering Laos, please call +856 20 5406 6777 to speak to a duty officer in Lao or English, at any time of the day or night.
For more information, call the free hotline number 166 on any day at any time.

ByPhomphong Laoin
(Latest Update February 10, 2020)

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