Laos Has Tackled COVID-19, But It Is Drowning in Debt to International Finance

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2151 ... July 22, 2020
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Laos Has Tackled COVID-19, But It Is Drowning in Debt to International Finance

Vijay Prashad

On June 11, Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) -- a country of 7 million in Southeast Asia -- said it had temporarily prevailed over COVID-19. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said that his country had "gained an important victory in the first campaign against this vicious enemy." The first cases of COVID-19 detected in Laos were registered on March 24; a total of 19 people had been infected with the virus by April 12, and -- after 58 days of no new cases -- the last patient was discharged on June 9. There were no new cases of COVID-19 in Laos since April 12 (93 days of no new cases as of July 14). There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Laos.

Laos is a landlocked country, surrounded by the People’s Republic of China, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia. It shares a 423-kilometer border with China, across which traders and tourists routinely travel. Nonetheless, Laos... -- like its neighbor Vietnam -- has had no deaths from COVID-19. Laos has been particular about the possibility of transmission through travelers who have crossed from neighboring countries (which is why they are being held in quarantine centers for two weeks).

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