VIENTIANE, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Lao Ministry of Health has urged the public to get information about the COVID-19 from only reliable and official sources to avoid the snare of fake news.
The ministry and the World Health Organization are the only reliable sources of information on the virus and prevention efforts, local daily Vientiane Times on Monday quoted Rattanaxay Phetsavanh, director general of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under Lao Ministry of Health, as saying. He spoke at a press conference last Thursday about efforts to stop fake news on the spread and treatment of the COVID-19 in Laos.
The public should not read or share social media posts that contain misinformation.
At present, two facilities can carry out urgent blood tests to identify symptoms of the COVID-19, namely the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology, and the Pasteur Institute in Vientiane.
Health officials said Mittaphab Hospital (Friendship Hospital) and Mahosot Hospital in capital Vientiane were the only two hospitals in the city designated to treat anyone who contracts the virus.
"We will work with other hospitals in Vientiane capital, especially the 103 Hospital, if Mittaphab has more patients than it can handle," he said.
Health officials advise anyone with flu-like symptoms who has travelled to an outbreak area or had any contact with an at-risk group to get in touch with hospital staff.
The Lao ministry is also advising the general public to protect themselves against the virus by limiting contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
Officials are strengthening preparedness for and response to the COVID-19, Rattanaxay added.
He said Laos has a well-established system to identify unusual clusters of disease or illness, and this was being strengthened to ensure capabilities in detecting anything unusual.
Even though no case of COVID-19 has been reported in Laos, the government urges everyone to be on their guard and take precautions such as distancing themselves from people with coughs.