VIENTIANE, Jun 11, 2020, Vientiane Times. The Lao government on Wednesday announced an initial victory in the battle against Covid-19 after all 19 patients infected by the virus were discharged from hospital and no new cases were detected for 59 consecutive days, Vientiane Times reported.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told a media conference that Laos “has been able to gain an initial victory over the malefic enemy and it is the first significant step”.
The first person to contract Covid-19 was diagnosed in late March and the last hospital patient was discharged on Tuesday (June 9).
The government had launched its fight against Covid-19 more than two months ago, when it imposed prevention and control measures under the Prime Minister’s Order No 06 dated March 29 and put in place other restrictions.
The government had described Covid-19 as a “malefic enemy and a silent killer” while launching the battle against it.
The initial victory was made possible by the contribution of people from all walks of Lao society, who implemented the measures responsibly, Prime Minister Thongloun said.
There were several other factors that contributed to the victory, including early imposition of prevention and control measures and greater importance attached to fighting the pandemic by the country’s leadership, which provided regular guidance to combat the Coronavirus.
Timely and effective support and assistance from all sectors, international organisations and friendly countries gave a significant boost to these efforts, the premier said.
“On this occasion, I would like to express my wholehearted and sincere congratulations, gratitude and thanks to all sectors and the people for their contributions to this achievement,” he told the conference.
Members of the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) were present at the event.
Despite the achievement, the premier warned all sectors not to be careless, saying Laos is currently facing, and will in the future face, sensitive and challenging situations.
“We together must be more vigilant and continue to strictly carry out orders, instructions and announcements,” he said.
Prime Minister Thongloun issued the warning against the backdrop of the deadly disease ravaging many countries and regions around the world.
More than seven million people have been infected by the virus worldwide, and more than 400,000 have died.
Reports have also emerged that some countries are suffering a second wave of infections.
“We must be decisive in preventing and controlling the Coronavirus with all available forces and appropriate measures in order to not allow a second wave of Covid-19 infections to take place,” he said.
As good progress has been made in preventing and controlling the disease, the government has eased many restrictions imposed under the Prime Minister’s Order No 06.
Prime Minister Thongloun said the government will continue to assess the situation and revise prevention and control measures accordingly and appropriately in order to normalise the people’s lives and resume business operations gradually.
By Souksakhone Vaenkeo