VIENTIANE, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Lao government has called on all Lao workers in foreign countries returning home to enter through official international checkpoints to ensure they are scanned for COVID-19.
Lao labor authorities are also mulling actions to assist Lao workers in foreign countries, including Thailand, following directions from the government's monthly cabinet meeting for March which announced measures to prevent and control the coronavirus.
Local daily Vientiane Times on Monday quoted an anonymous official from Lao Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare told about plans to help Lao workers who want to return home that the ministry will publically announce shortly.
She said labor officials admitted it was difficult to prevent laborers infected with the virus from entering the country given that carriers may be asymptomatic for up to two weeks.
"The ministry cannot yet confirm the real number of workers returning. Even if they are illegal laborers, we still have to take care of them as they are Lao people," the official said.
Many Lao workers have previously returned home via local border checkpoints, particularly illegal workers in Thailand who avoided stricter scrutiny of their labor documents at international checkpoints, said the report.
Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on last Wednesday, ordered the temporary closure of traditional and local level border crossings around the country as these were not equipped with virus detection tools to scan travellers.
The government is keeping a close watch on entry points the laborers use by plane or border checkpoints while health officials will check their travel history in and out of the country.
Lao government has intensified preventive measures, despite there being no confirmed case of the virus infection in Laos.