Laos Prime Minister, Thongloun Sisoulith, declared the country free of covid-19 following the recovery of the last coronavirus patient and more than two months without a reported new infection.
The country, which borders China, reported only 19 coronavirus cases in total and no fatalities since the pandemic began.
The early and quick response by Laos has been praised by international health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO).
An acting representative for the WHO in Laos, Howard Sobel, released a statement praising the Covid-19 Task Force and Emergency Operations Center in the southeast Asia country.
His statement also thanked the frontline staff who helped to control the virus in Laos and the early detection systems, contact tracing, and response times for preparing the health system, borders, and quarantine centers in dealing with the outbreak.
However, the low number of cases reported in communist-run Laos also drew skepticism, with some believing the country is hiding the real figures of covid-19 infected patients.
Despite this, Ludovic Arnout, a representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Laos, believes that it would be challenging to hide cases.
He said that there were very few unofficial reports of illness or deaths across small villages in Laos on social media, saying:
“It’s difficult to hide, so yes, I believe it.”
He also praised the local government’s efforts to contain the virus and its ability to provide information to small communities around the country.
Using the cancellation of April’s annual Laos New Year Water Festival, he was also encouraged by how quickly local citizens adopted to the situation, claiming that face masks were widely used to stop the spread of the disease.
Source: Bangkok Post