Laos govt continues to monitor Lao-Thai border to prevent spread of Covid-19

VIENTIANE, Jan 12 (Xinhua): Local authorities have been urged to monitor border crossings to prevent people from entering Laos illegally from Thailand, to stem the spread of Covid-19 after a widespread outbreak in Thailand.

Many Lao workers are returning home from Thailand, both legally and illegally, sparking fears of a second wave of Covid-19 in Laos, local daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday quoted Deputy Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under the Lao Ministry of Health, Phonepaserd Sayamounkhoung as saying.

"The taskforce and health authorities are concerned that Lao workers are returning from Thailand and entering Laos illegally by crossing the Mekong River," said Phonepaserd.

Local authorities continue to face challenges in monitoring people at border crossings and providing assistance to returning workers affected by the pandemic, she added.

It is still common for returning migrants to enter Laos undetected by crossing the Mekong at places where there are no immigration facilities.

This means they are not screened for the virus or quarantined as regulations require.

The bordering Mekong River is easy to cross at this time of the year because of the low water level. The national taskforce for virus control recently instructed local authorities in all provinces bordering Thailand to record information about people entering Laos.

These provinces are considered at high risk for the spread of the virus as they border populous Thailand, and the border between Laos and Thailand is porous.

As of Monday, 41 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Laos and no deaths from the virus have been reported.

Laos reported its first two confirmed Covid-19 cases on March 24. - Xinhua
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