As of 30 June, Lao PDR has 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases (last reported 12 April) and zero deaths, with all 19 patients now recovered (MoH).
The UN Country Team (UNCT) continues to provide support to the Government of Lao PDR to strengthen its preparedness against the next COVID-19 outbreak across a range of sectors, including health, migration, education, nutrition, and food security, agriculture, labour, and social services and protection.
The Point of Entry and Provincial Health Facility Strengthening Project under the UN SecretaryGeneral’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) held a kickoff meeting on 11 June with multiple Government stakeholders and UN Partners. The Project has now piloted the rapid needs assessments for Quarantine Centers and identified target communities in consultation with the Government.
Situation in Numbers (as of 30 June) # of confirmed cases 19 # of deaths 0 # of return migrants into the country 200,000 (National COVID19 Taskforce) # of people tested 17,713 # of active Quarantine Centers 89 MPI has requested the UN to convene a joint Taskforce to undertake an impact assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak with the objective of identifying policy options against the backdrop of COVID-19 outlining recommendations for the Government in recalibrating the draft 9th NSEDP. The Terms of Reference for a Joint Taskforce has been finalized following an inception meeting in late June, and preparation is now underway for more detailed thematic discussions.
Procurement of medical supplies and health products remains a high priority for the Government, particularly in preparing Provincial and District health care facilities in the event of further COVID-19 outbreaks and future epidemics.
The UN has been engaging Lao residents in risk communication and preventative messaging, working with Partners from multiple sectors (Government, religious and faith-based groups, INGOs and local CSOs, educational institutions, media, and private sector). Partnership with Lao Buddhist Fellowship has been expanded, and a risk communication workshop for 200 monks from Vientiane Temples is under preparation. Media workshops have been held on: (1) community mobilization in case of detection of new cases; and (2) upon the completion of the Back To School Campaign. Distribution of information, education and communication (IEC) materials and targeted communication to migrants, children, parents and teachers, youth, women and other vulnerable groups is ongoing.
With all schools, colleges, and universities being instructed to resume classes in June, the Back to School Campaign has been officially completed. To further support continuity of learning, home learning materials developed with UN support are airing on TV and online platforms by MoES, reaching an estimated 72% of the population.
In June, 364 callers were provided with psycho-social support across 17 hotlines created in partnership with the Lao Women’s Union (LWU), Lao Youth Union (LYU), and Vientiane Youth Centre to respond to the increase in protection and gender-based violence (GBV) issues.
To support the Government in responding to the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the UN is undertaking a range of assessments in the economic and financial sectors, determining the implications on the lowincome earning households and vulnerable groups. The UNCT Partners are also improving vulnerability mapping and spatial analysis, identifying high-risk regions across the country. The assessments will also assist in determining the impact against the SDGs and what development of policy options and measures will be required in the recovery process.
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Lao PDR have been mobilized to produce needed personal protective equipment (PPE), in collaboration with MoIC and LNCCI for the sustainability of essential protection supplies.
24 youth volunteers from the LYU, Vientiane Youth Centre and the National University of Lao PDR underwent a threeday training as part of the “Me, My Body, My Planet, My Future” Campaign launched in 2019, learning important leadership skills to drive action in mitigating the negative impact of COVID-19 on adolescents and young people.