VIENTIANE, April 20 (Vientiane Times/ANN): Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh has instructed authorities in charge to continue with the vaccination of target groups and to offer the vaccine to all other citizens, so that the target could be reached or even exceeded.
The premier made the call in a statement issued on Tuesday, pledging that the government would accelerate the roll out of vaccinations to keep Covid-19 in check.
He also called for stronger action to ward off the virus amid growing fears of an outbreak after a record number of imported cases were reported in recent days.
The number of known cases increased from 49 on April 13 to 58 on April 18, which the prime minister said was a rapid increase compared to the previous rate at which infections were recorded.
The most recent cases involved Lao workers who tested positive on their return from Thailand for the Lao New Year holiday from April 14-16.
In his statement, the premier said the government would “accelerate the inoculation of at least 22 percent of the population by 2021 but more would be better.”
He called for the continuing vaccination of target groups and for the expansion of the programme to include all groups of people. These comprise civil servants, officials, soldiers, police officers and teachers, as well as employees in shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and sports facilities, and traders and vendors.
The prime minister advised people in all target groups to come forward for vaccination.
The government encourages the private sector and individuals to participate in the inoculation programme.
Premier Phankham said the government would assist business operators or individuals who wish to purchase Covid-19 vaccines for their employees or other target groups.
“Indicate your intention to the taskforce for Covid-19 prevention, ” he said, adding that this would be urgently considered so that the details of the amount of the intended purchase could be discussed, as well as which vaccine and the target group for vaccination.
As of April 12, more than 140,000 people had received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while almost 28,000 people have had their second injection, according to the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control. The taskforce said the vaccines were safe with no reports of serious side effects following injections.
Prime Minister Phankham also ordered more intense action by border patrols to prevent and regulate illegal border crossings in compliance with Covid-19 prevention measures.
Local authorities were told to employ strict measures and to actively monitor people entering Laos from countries that have Covid-19 outbreaks. Families and relatives of those entering Laos are required to cooperate and to promptly provide information concerning incomers.
The premier called for people from all walks of life, including foreigners living in Laos, to remain vigilant and to strictly observe the Covid-19 prevention and control measures.
Central and local Covid-19 taskforces were told to improve standards at quarantine centres, while ensuring that virus prevention and control measures were fully and strictly observed.
The prime minister warned that any individual or organisation that violated virus prevention and control measures would face punishment.
He urged members of the public to pay attention to news and information from official sources in order to avoid falling prey to misinformation. - Vientiane Times/ANN