VIENTIANE, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Ministry of Health is urging Laotians to continue to comply with COVID-19 control measures, even though the number of daily new infections has fallen significantly.
The number of new infections reported in one day has dropped to the single figure in Laos since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. On Monday only four new cases were reported.
Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, director general of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion under the Lao Ministry of Health, told a press conference in Vientiane on Monday that this decline did not mean that the virus had disappeared and that all measures relating to COVID-19 prevention and control should continue to be practiced.
"As the number of new infections reported in neighboring countries remains high, we should take precautions, especially by wearing a mask when outside our homes and in crowded places," he said.
Phonepaseuth believed the number of reported COVID-19 cases has declined because many people test themselves for the virus and do not report a positive test to health authorities, so the true number of infections is unknown.
Infections are also on the wane because more people have immunity to the virus after being vaccinated. Vaccination prevents most people from developing serious illness so they do not go to a hospital and the infection is not recorded and reported by hospital staff.
Phonepaseuth urged every Laotian to get vaccinated, so they will not become seriously ill if they do contract the virus. It is particularly important for elderly people and those with a chronic health condition to get vaccinated, he said.
As of Monday, 215,880 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Laos and 665 people have died from the virus.
Laos reported its first two confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 24, 2020. ■