Despite sharing a border with China, Laos (the Lao People’s Democratic Republic) has effectively handled COVID thus far. Laos has a population of over 7 million and has tested roughly 20,500 with only 19 cases coming back positive.
The first detected cases were registered on March 24th, and the last of the 19 cases was discharged as of June 9th. There have been no new cases since April 12th and no deaths overall.
After two separate Chinese travelers had visited Laos and returned to China and found to have been infected in January, Laos began suspending the issuance of visas to Chinese nationals and reducing its flights to China. There were no other confirmed cases until two months later. With China being the main market for Lao Airlines and the tourist trade also almost completely reliant on China, not many people were traveling in and out of the country, allowing for a full lockdown on March 29th.
With physical testing, social distancing, contact tracing, quarantine, and treatment, Laos was able to contain the virus as much as possible but, like most others, the country is suffering from a recession as a result of the virus. The Lao government has been working with the World Bank to evaluate the economic impact of the pandemic.
Author: Camryn Thomas