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 that announcement, there have been 19 confirmed cases, with the last reported case on the 11th of April, Lao People’s Democratic Republic is still able to contain the outbreak, as all cases are either travel-related or linked to confirmed cases. To date, there have been no confirmed cases among the recent influx of foreign worker returnees.
In Thailand, the announcement of wide-ranging business closures by the Governor of Bangkok on Saturday, 21 March 2020 and subsequent announcement of the State of Emergency by the Prime Minister on 26 March 2020 triggered mass movements of migrants from Bangkok and other provinces, in Thailand to migrant home provinces, as well as across borders to home countries in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (the) and Myanmar.
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 and barriers 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; and other factors
- International Organization for Migration
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