With more than 5 million confirmed cases, and about 65,000 deaths around the globe; the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEICC) on 30 January 2020, and characterized it as a pandemic on 11 March 2020.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic confirmed its first case on 24 March 2020.
Since then, 19 cases were tested positive, with most recent case confirmed on 12 April. The Lao Government was able to contain the outbreak with support from development partners. On 9 June 2020, the final patient had recovered and was discharged; the country had since became officially free of COVID-19.
The Royal Thai Government extended the State of Emergency until the end of July. With sustained business closures in the popular country of destination, Laotian migrant workers continue to return due to reduced income and employment opportunities. Vientiane Capital, Savannakhet, and Champasack are the three major entry points for returning migrants. Health screening and referral mechanism are in place at all points of entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic to minimize the risks of a second outbreak. To date, there have been no confirmed cases among the influx of returnees.
Migrant and mobile populations bear a high risk of infection as well as broader social and economic impacts of COVID-19 due to several factors, such as lack or inadequate access to proper information on prevention; limitations in or exclusions from accessing diagnostic and treatment services; cramped and crowded living and working conditions; stigma and discrimination.
Source: International Organization for Migration