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IOM Provides Personal Protective Equipment to Two Frequently Used Points of Entry in Vientiane Capital

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Lao People’s Democratic Republic – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Department of Immigration, General Department of Public Security, the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) recently (25-11) handed over personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline border officials at Wattay International Airport and Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I to better protect travelers, migrants, frontline officials, and ensure safe and effective migration and border management during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

IOM procured essential PPE for two Points of Entry (PoEs) to address and respond to gaps identified from the rapid assessments conducted at frequently used PoEs. Zena Van Bemmel Faulkner, Acting Head of Office of IOM, and Police Colonel Saysaming SIVILAY, Director General of Immigration Department, General Department of Public Security, MoPS handed over 15,000 surgical masks, 2,000 surgical gloves, 190 goggles, 1,000 hand sanitizers, 160 face shields, 10 handheld thermometers, and 15 electric disinfection sprayers to Wattay International Airport. Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I received 10,000 surgical masks, 50 hand sanitizers, 150 face shields, 10 handheld thermometers, and 10 manual disinfection sprays.

Pol. Col. Saysaming SIVILAY thanked IOM for the ongoing support, saying “this support comes in a timely manner as the country on 23 November received 14 newly imported COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 39 cases. The Government’s quick response would not have been possible without the generous support of the Australian Government, IOM, WHO and other development partners assisting in the COVID-19 response at PoEs,” he said.

Together with MoPS, IOM started the first PoE mapping assessment in Vientiane Capital on 28 August, before rolling out to six other provinces across the country. A total of 10 frequently used PoEs were assessed to look at preparedness and response capacities for COVID-19, which included assessing existing capacities of infrastructure, processes, and personnel to respond to COVID-19 and future outbreaks.

Based on the findings of this assessment, IOM has developed in consultation with MoPS the standard operating procedures (SOP) for frontline border officials and information, education, and communication (IEC) materials for incoming and outgoing passengers.

From 27 to 30 October, IOM held a joint training at Wattay International Airport and Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I for frontline officials, with trainings at 10 international PoEs scheduled to be rolled out by the end of 2020.

IOM has been monitoring the large number of migrants returning across the region. The pandemic has significantly changed human mobility and trade patterns, and as travel restrictions created new risks for migrants, many have become stranded or found themselves in irregular situations.

Under its Health, Border and Mobility Management Framework, IOM sets to improve the prevention, detection, and response to the spread of diseases at points of origin, transit, destination, and return.

This activity is part of IOM’s project Responding to Cross Mobility Challenges at Points of Entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, with joint funding from the Australian Government and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

For more information please contact Suhyun PARK at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)55 136 294. Email: spark@iom.int

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