In Lao People’s Democratic Republic, tens of thousands of overseas workers returned at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and were required to undergo 14 days of quarantine. These returning workers were mainly Lao nationals who had been working in Thailand and bordering countries. The government requested that local communities prepare village-led quarantine centres since urban and rural areas had different needs and resources, and solutions needed to be tailored to each local context.

In both rural and urban areas around the country, District Governors and Village Leaders prepared for the arrival of their own returning villagers by setting up more than 1,000 small-size local quarantine centres. A number of stakeholders collaborated to put these local plans into action. Strong local authorities and governance structures played an important leadership role and felt a sense of accountability for their returning community members. They led the requisitioning of community buildings such as schools into quarantine centres. District Health Departments advised on Infection Prevention and Control at the facilities, and they monitored the health of those in quarantine. Family networks supplied critical basic needs, such as food and other supplies, for their family members while in the nearby quarantine centres. Additional agencies were identified to help fill in resource gaps such as the Swiss Red Cross supplying food for multiple centres across the country as needed.

This aspect of the COVID-19 response drew upon the existing networks and resources from the national level all the way down to the village level. The sense of community ownership and experience has provided the foundation in Lao People’s Democratic Republic to prepare for and respond to large scale community transmission in the country.


[Source: WHO (Lao PDR)]​​

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