Vietnam to assist Laos contain Covid-19

By Le Nga   April 29, 2021 | 10:00 pm PT
Vietnam to assist Laos contain Covid-19
Laos Red Cross volunteers raise awareness on the symptoms of Covid-19 and the means to protect oneself from it, in a market in Vientiane, Laos, April 30, 2020. Photo by Laos Red Cross/Handout via Reuters.
Vietnam's Health Ministry will send experienced experts to Laos to help set up test systems and field hospitals for Covid-19 patients.

In a virtual meeting Thursday with Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, his Lao counterpart Bounfeng Phoummalaysith said the pandemic has dramatically erupted in his country since April 20, spreading to 15 of 18 provinces.

The number of new cases in Laos has been steadily increasing, with a peak of 100 in a day. Epidemiological investigations show that the new infections are closely connections to illegal entrants.

In the Lao capital of Vientiane, central hospitals are full of patients, requiring field medical facilities to be mobilized to treat Covid-19 patients. The country has not recorded any death from the pandemic so far.

Laos needs 10 Realtime RT-PCR machines with a capacity of 40,000 samples a day, said Phoummalaysith, expressing his hope for Vietnam’s assistance with equipment, supplies and treatment.

"Laos wishes to have Vietnam's help with experts for testing and sharing other lessons," he said.

Long said Vietnam will provide Laos with 200 ventilators, two million masks, 10 tonnes of chloroquine and other equipment. Vietnamese experts will also go to Laos and help build test systems, field hospitals, especially intensive care units (ICUs) for severe cases. Vietnamese experts will support Lao colleagues in treating patients via telehealth systems, that are to be established at treatment facilities in Laos.

Long told Phoummalaysith that Vietnam has been carrying out all preventive activities with the motto of getting things done "in the quickest time possible" to contain the pandemic, particularly in cutting community transmissions. The country has been vigorously and thoroughly tracing people who'd had contact with positive cases, he said.

Vietnam has also been applying the combining sample strategy, which has a range of 5 - 16 samples depending on different areas.

"It helps to rapidly increase the testing capacity amid the lack of testing resources. The most prominent example is the third wave in the northern province of Hai Duong in February," he said, adding that the country has conducted two million tests so far.

Long said Vietnam has been asking people who have close contact with infected ones (F1) to go to quarantine centers to take pathogens out of the community, cutting off the transmission.

Patients with severe illness are treated at hospitals equipped with emergency resuscitation systems, cases without symptoms or having mild ones are treated at field hospitals, he explained.

Vietnam has also established remote medical examination and treatment systems connecting with facilities for Covid-19 patients. The country has 1,500 locations connected nationwide, allowing any case to get timely treatment with support of leading experts.

With serious cases, Vietnam conducts systematic consultations to find the most effective treatments. Therefore, during the third Covid-19 wave, the country had a high number of infections but no deaths.

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