VIENTIANE, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The Lao government has instructed authorities across the country to strictly monitor the border and record information about people entering Laos to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.
Lao nationals who work in Thailand and other countries may return to Laos but must enter at official border crossings so that officials can screen them for COVID-19, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.
The Lao Ministry of Health is concerned about people entering Laos illegally across the Mekong River which is easy at this time of the year because of the low water level.
Local authorities are continuing to face challenges in monitoring people at border crossings and providing assistance to returning workers affected by the pandemic.
Returning Lao nationals must present a letter from their embassy or consulate granting permission to travel to a particular border crossing on a specified day, along with a fit-to-travel health certificate.
Everyone crossing the border will be screened and informed of the basic facts about COVID-19 and what to expect during travel. They will then be sent to a quarantine center.
The National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has called for better collaboration within the health sector to lower the risk of the virus being transmitted across borders, and is working with local authorities to assess their preparedness and response to the virus threat.
As of Sunday, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laos is 1,591, with two deaths and 574 people undergoing treatment in hospitals.
Laos reported its first two COVID-19 cases on March 24 last year.