VIENTIANE, Aug 9, 2021, NST. Laos has doubled the quarantine period at its state quarantine centres from 14 days to 28 days after it detected cases of Covid-19 community spread by those leaving quarantine, New Straits Times reported.
Dr Sisavath Soutthaniraxay, deputy Director General of the Department of Communicable Diseases Control under the Lao Health Ministry, said quarantine centres in some provinces will also be expanded as more migrant workers were returning home.
He said that all returnees who test positive for Covid-19 were immediately isolated and sent to hospitals for treatment while others need to remain in extended quarantine.
According to the Laotian Times, the country now has 79 quarantine centres and 44 quarantine hotels with more than 13,000 people under quarantine.
Dr Sisavath said that those returning to Laos and entering state quarantine centres will now be required to remain there for 14 days at the state level centres and continue the next 14 days of quarantine at a district level quarantine centre.
However it is unclear if the extended quarantine also applied to those in quarantine hotels.
Meanwhile, Laos confirmed 260 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to 8,392.
Health authorities said the positive cases were found from 3,225 tests that were conducted over the past 24 hours.
Of the new cases, only 18 were new community cases, with two in Xayaboury district, 15 in Bokeo, and one in Champasack.
The other 242 cases were all imported, underscoring the risks posed by returning migrant workers especially those from Thailand.
All the cases were detected in the border provinces of Savannakhet with 119 cases, Champasack (93), Vientiane Capital (26), three in Bolikhamxay, and one in Xayaboury.
There were also eight coronavirus deaths in the country on Sunday.
With the rising number of cases in the country, Laos has also ramped up its vaccination programme to inoculate as many people as possible among its 7.3 million population.
The country hopes to vaccinate at least 50 per cent of its population by the end of the year.
On Saturday, China sent another one million doses of its Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to assist in the country’s vaccination programme.
Lao Health Minister Dr Bounfeng Phoummalaysith received the vaccine shipment from representatives of the Chinese Embassy to Laos at the Wattay Airport in the capital.
The vaccines were delivered alongside vaccination equipment as part of Chinese assistance to the landlocked country.
Laos received its first shipment of 2,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines from China on Dec 31 last year, followed by 300,000 doses in February, 800,000 doses in early April and another 300,000 doses in a fourth shipment in late April.
A fifth shipment arrived in June containing some 500,000 doses.
Laos has also received over 5.2 million doses of vaccines from other countries and through the Covax initiative.
This includes one million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the United States.