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Vietnam willing to support Laos in COVID-19 fight: Health Minister

Vietnam is willing to share its experience in COVID-19 prevention and control with Laos, said Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long in a virtual discussion with his Lao counterpart Bounfeng Phoummalaysith on April 29.

Expressing his gratitude towards the support of the Vietnamese Government and the Ministry of Health for Laos and its people in the past time, Bounfeng informed that since April 20, Laos has been hit by the pandemic, which has spread to 15 out of 18 provinces nationwide. The national count of infection cases has been on the rise, with new infections mostly resulted from illegal immigrants, he said.

The Lao minister said there is no death from the disease so far, however, central-level hospitals in Vientiane are now filled up with COVID-19 patients and Laos have put temporary COVID-19 treatment facilities into operation to meet demand.

Having said Laos is in need of about 10 COVID-19 testing Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machines with a testing capacity of 40,000 samples a day, he asked for Vietnam’s assistance in terms of equipment, and materials for pandemic prevention and treatment of patients.

The minister also proposed Vietnam to send RT-PCR experts to help Laos and share experience in COVID-19 prevention and control as well as treament of patients.

For his part, Long shared Vietnam’s experience, emphasising the nation’s speedy actions, including drastic contact tracing for prompt quarantine and large-scale testing. To date, over 2 million Vietnamese have been tested for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, while a remote medical examination and treatment system, dubbed the Telehealth, that connects 1,500 COVID-19 treatment facilities nationwide have been established so that patients could receive top experts’ support from anywhere.

The minister told his Lao counterpart that the Vietnamese Party and State had decided to present Laos with 200 ventilators, 2 million facemasks, and 10 tonnes of chloromin, and other equipment.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health will send experts to help Laos set up a testing system as soon as possible, he said, adding that those with expertise in establishing COVID-19 treatment hospitals, particularly the intensive care unit, will also be dispatched to the neighbouring nation.

Via virtual connection with the Telehealth installed by Vietnamese engineers at treatment facilities of Laos, COVID-19 experts in Vietnam will assists Lao doctors in tackling complicated cases, Long noted.

Vietnam is ready to dispatch a plane to carry the cargo and Vietnamese experts to Vientiane whenever the Lao side can arrange, he affirmed./.