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08/04/2021 Laos (International Christian Concern) – Laos has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases this summer, as many migrant workers returned to the country in June and July. The workers came primarily from Thailand. In Thailand, the Delta variant has been spreading rapidly, causing a widespread outbreak that has been ongoing for months.

The wave of migrants, therefore, has increased rates of COVID-19 in Laos, raising the official tally of infections in the communist nation of around 7 million to 6,000 cases. According to UCA News, Scores of new cases are reported daily, with many coming from rural provinces with large, underprivileged populations.

Since this new outbreak disproportionately affects the nation’s poor, there are fears that impoverished citizens, among whom many are Christians, will suffer a significant health crisis. If the virus continues to spread unchecked in these rural areas where most of the country’s 150,000 Christians live, it could spell disaster for these people.

Laos claims to provide universal health care for its citizens, but its quality of care is lacking. In addition, many of the country’s religious minorities, including Buddhists and Christians, are routinely denied health care and can even face detainment in retribution for practicing their respective faiths that the government considers to be alien.

Despite concerns about the capacity of its healthcare system, Laos has managed to vaccinate nearly 12 percent of its population. Moreover, the nation is planning on inoculating over half of its 7 million citizens in the coming month.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].