VIENTIANE, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Lao health authorities have called on the public not to stigmatize people who have contracted COVID-19, but to rally round in a show of support and unity.
Sympathy and understanding is necessary on the part of everyone to ensure that communities survive and people live in harmony during these challenging times, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.
This was the message from the Deputy Director General of the Department of Communicable Diseases Control under the Lao Ministry of Health Sisavath Soutthaniraxay, following the daily COVID-19 press briefing last Friday.
He stressed that health officials should involve family members, family heads, village heads, associations, charities and monks in the battle to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak by strengthening community spirit and encouraging mutual support.
He strongly discouraged people from turning their backs on those who picked up COVID-19, saying that love and unity should prevail and would help everyone to pull through.
"We all know that no one wants to fall ill with this virus. When anyone is known to be infected, family members, close friends and everyone in the community should show their support and do what they can to help," Sisavath said.
"What people need most when they return home is supportive care to help ease their symptoms as they continue to recover from the virus," Sisavath said.
"People also need to continue to self-quarantine under the government's stay-at-home guidelines to prevent additional outbreaks of the virus."
He also advised that everyone should follow the rules on social distancing, stay at home whenever possible, and avoid the company of other people as much as possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As of Monday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Laos reached 125,333 with 497 deaths.
Laos reported its first two confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 24, 2020.