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Working from home, nation in a sensitive situation: PM

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told all local and central sectors to consider allowing their staff to work from home where possible in a bid to prevent coronavirus (Covid-19) infections.
“If it’s possible to work at home and communicate with each other online, implement it,” the premier told a press conference yesterday.
He gave the advice after confirmed cases were reported in Vientiane and thousands of Lao workers in neighbouring countries, especially Thailand, where the outbreak has been reported, rushed home and posed a challenge for prevention efforts.

Health officials yesterday confirmed the third infected person, who had close contact with one of the two virus patients who tested positive on March 23.
“We are in a sensitive situation. Covid-19 could infect more people,” the PM said.
He told all local and central sectors to consider suspending meetings within their organisations or offices to avoid crowded gathering or getting too close to one another to minimise infection risk. Representatives or officials of all sectors were suggested to avoid visiting each other but communicate online or via telephone instead.
Health officials are tracking places and accommodation where the infected victims visited as well as people they had close contact with in an attempt to control the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the influx of Lao workers occurred after authorities in neighbouring countries imposed prevention measures including shutting down workplaces, leaving the Lao workers jobless. The unprecedented return triggered fears that they could carry the virus.
PM Thongloun stated that the government would strictly enforce the prevention measures promulgated, especially scanning and quarantine measures.
Health authorities in provinces have monitored and checked the incoming workers. Those with high temperature were isolated and tested.
But those without Covid-19 symptoms were suggested to impose self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Premier Thongloun called for the incoming workers to cooperate in exercising self-quarantine.
“Stay at home. Don’t go out. Don’t meet friends for 14 days. When irregularity occurs, report it to health officials,” PM Thongloun suggested.
He suggested those developing irregularities or Covid-19 like symptoms inform health authorities via hotline number 166.  
Teams of medical staff have been dispatched to work in villages overseeing the returnees in particular. 
Asked about the government’s measures to help Lao workers still stuck in Thailand, the PM said the government welcomed them home, but they needed to undergo strict scanning and quarantine measures to prevent the virus.
But those workers having favourable conditions continuing their stay in the neighbour are suggested to avoid travel for the time being.
PM Thongloun said the government had instructed provincial, district and village authorities to oversee the implementation of the prevention measures.
He told the National Taskforce Committee to formulate additional prevention measures, saying stricter action would be taken accordingly if the situation escalates.
“Don’t panic. Don’t be nervous. We will fight Covid-19 together until we win,” the PM told all walks of life via the press conference.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update March 26, 2020)

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