How Laos escaped coronavirus community transmission and deaths — until now

The official coronavirus death toll in the South-East Asian nation of Laos remained at zero until this month.

Amid a rapidly spreading outbreak in neighbouring Thailand, the Laotian government sealed its borders and imposed a lockdown on April 22. 

Everybody except for essential workers was required to stay home unless accessing food or medical assistance, and schools were closed.

Then the country’s health authorities reported its first coronavirus death of the pandemic on May 9, a 53-year-old Vietnamese national.

State media reported the woman had underlying health conditions including diabetes.

Five days later, a 29-year-old man became the first Lao national to die from coronavirus. 

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Max Walden