Although Laos officially claims to have recorded zero coronavirus cases, the Ministry of Health of the country still warns against fake news…
Laos is still free from the coronavirus even though the deadly Covid-19 has now spread to some 79 countries, Deputy Minister of Health, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak, told foreign diplomats a couple of days ago. The ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held recently a meeting to brief foreign diplomats and representatives of international organisations on the current situation and the measures Laos is taking to prevent and control the virus.
Laos had 53 suspected cases as of yesterday, but all of the people tested were diagnosed negative for the virus. Samples from each of the suspected cases were tested three times at three different labs – the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology, the Pasteur Institute (Institut Pasteur du Laos) in Vientiane, and the Microbiology Laboratory at Mahosot Hospital. The National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology is certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Ministry of Health has then urged the public to get information about the COVID-19 from only reliable and official sources to avoid the snare of fake news, it was reported by the official news agency KPL.
The ministry and the World Health Organisation are the only reliable sources of information on the virus and prevention efforts, declared Rattanaxay Phetsavanh, Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control (DCDC) under the Ministry of Health.
The public should not read or share social media posts that contain misinformation, he said, adding that at present, two facilities can carry out urgent blood tests to identify symptoms of the COVID-19, namely the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology, and the Pasteur Institute in Vientiane.
Health officials said Mittaphab Hospital (Friendship Hospital) and Mahosot Hospital in capital Vientiane were the only two hospitals in the city designated to treat anyone who contracts the virus.
The DCDC will work with other hospitals in Vientiane Capital, especially the 103 Hospital, if Mittaphab has more patients than it can handle, he said. Tests are conducted
Health officials advise anyone with flu-like symptoms and has travelled to an outbreak area or had any contact with an at-risk group to get in touch with hospital staff.
The ministry is also advising the general public to protect themselves against the virus by limiting contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
Officials are strengthening preparedness for and response to the COVID-19, Rattanaxay added.