Laos strengthens nCoV screening at border crossings hinh anh 1Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Muongpak. (Photo: KPL)

Vientiane (VNA) – Health officials and medical staff in Laos have been requested to implement newly introduced screening and quarantine measures at all border crossings to prevent the spread of the acute respiratory disease cause by novel coronavirus, called nCoV, originated from China.

Screening and monitoring must be more rigorous, especially the health of all passengers coming to and from China, Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Muongpak told the media during a visit to inspect the Wattay International Airport last week.

If anyone is found unwell with coughing, fever or cold, he or she will be interviewed by health staff. If the person is suspected to carry the virus, he or she will be sent to hospital for further examination and treatment, and will later be repatriated, Muongpak said. 

As Laos shares a border with five countries including China, there is a high risk for virus to spread in Laos, he continued, adding that the ministry is preparing for the worst-case scenario with particular vigilance in place at provinces which share borders with China and other neighbouring countries.

The ministry has instructed all Chinese who owned or operated companies in Laos to carry out checks of their Chinese employees.

No infection has been reported in Laos so far. About 80 Lao students who returned from China for the Lunar New Year holiday had colds and went to hospital for checks, but all tested negative for the virus.

National flag carrier Lao Airlines has grounded all flights to five Chinese cities after Beijing imposed travel bans to contain the coronavirus outbreak last month. Next week, the airline will start reducing flights to China./.