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Taskforce urges compliance with Covid rules at funerals

The National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control on Wednesday issued an instruction, calling on all members of the public to comply with virus control measures when attending funerals.
The move comes after nine of the 24 community-acquired cases recorded in Vientiane on Tuesday involved people who recently attended a funeral in Pakxe city, Champassak province.
The government is concerned about the rise in locally-transmitted cases, fearing that more cases could trigger a wide scale community outbreak.
The three-page instruction signed by Minister of Health Dr Bounfeng Phoummalaysith stated that funerals involved large gatherings, posing a high risk for the spread of Covid, especially the highly contagious Delta variant.
The taskforce said it was essential that everyone complied with all of the recommended guidelines to slow the spread of the virus.
At funerals, attendees should have their temperature checked on entry, wear a face mask and clean their hands with sanitiser.
The coffin should be placed in a ventilated room and the host and guests should stay at least 1 metre apart. The ceremony must be conducted simply, while the host must follow hygiene guidelines and spray the area with disinfectant.
All guests must wash their hands regularly, particularly before and after eating food. All forms of gambling are prohibited.
The venue should not be crowded and the host must advise guests to follow all the virus control measures laid down by the Covid taskforce.
The taskforce also recommends that guests should not share spoons, cups or bowls while eating and should eat only cooked food.  
Funerals have reportedly been responsible for new virus clusters. A government official was among those who tested positive for Covid after attending the funeral in Pakxe.
Laos is struggling to contain the spread of Covid-19 despite reinforced measures aimed at flattening the infection curve. In August alone, more than 8,700 new cases were recorded, along with seven deaths.
On Wednesday, 223 new cases were confirmed across the country, bringing the total number of Covid infections to 17,905.
Of the new cases, 158 were locally-transmitted. Champassak province reported the highest number (104), followed by Khammuan (17), Luang Prabang (12), Savannakhet (11), Saravan (6), Vientiane (2), Bokeo (2), Luang Namtha (2), Vientiane province (1) and Xekong (1).
The 65 imported cases were reported in Vientiane (19), Champassak (9), Khammuan (4), Savannakhet (27), Saravan (3) and Luang Prabang (3).
Since the spike in locally-transmitted cases, authorities in several provinces have intensified lockdown measures to prevent the virus from spreading.
Members of the public have been urged to pursue a new normal way of life by regularly wearing face masks, using hand sanitiser, and taking other precautionary steps to stay safe.


By Somsack Pongkhao
  (Latest Update September 16, 2021)


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