Lao man's death sparks Covid-19 scare

Lao man's death sparks Covid-19 scare

Medical staff in PPE suits from Hong Han Hospital in Udon Thani province place the body of the Lao man who died on Tuesday from an unknown cause in a coffin. A laboratory test will determine whether he died of Covid-19. (Photo: Yuttapong Kumnodnae)
Medical staff in PPE suits from Hong Han Hospital in Udon Thani province place the body of the Lao man who died on Tuesday from an unknown cause in a coffin. A laboratory test will determine whether he died of Covid-19. (Photo: Yuttapong Kumnodnae)

UDON THANI: An elderly Lao man visiting his daughter and her family died of an unknown cause on Tuesday in Nong Han district, sparking a scare he had Covid-19.

Medical staff encased in PPE suits quickly arrived and took his body away in a sealed coffin, and samples were taken for testing.

However, several media reports on Wednesday afternoon quoted sources saying the tests proved negative. Provincial governor Nirat Pongsithithavorn was expected to confirm the reports later in the evening.

Khampoun Phimphadee, 61, and his wife, who was not named, arrived at Ban Nong Lat in tambon Nong Mek of Nong Han district about two weeks ago to visit their daughter Dido, 30, who had lived there with her Thai husband and their two children for about 10 years.

Mrs Dido said her father and mother travelled from Vientiane and crossed the Mekong river via a natural border crossing. They landed at Phon Phisai district in Nong Khai province and hired a vehicle to take them to Ban Nong Lat.

At Ban Nong Lat, the two stayed in a house owned by her husband's relatives in the middle of a rice field, Mrs Dido said.

A few days ago she noticed her father appeared unwell and had a cough. About 9am on Tuesday she and her mother returned from making merit at a temple and were told by neighbours that Khampoun had died.

She went to the house where her father stayed and found him dead on a bamboo bed in front of the house. The man had vomited blood, which was seen splattered on the ground.

She called the police.

The police cordoned off the area. Health officials from Nong Han Hospital soon arrived in PPE suits to examine the dead man and collected samples for further examination.

Pol Col Sarayut Champhiew, the Nong Han police chief, said he had invited Mrs Dido, her mother and the owner of the house in for questioning to establish through which border crossing the couple had entered the country and whether the entry was legal.

The samples collected from the scene were being examined in a hospital lab to find out whether the man  died from Covid-19, he said.

The Udon Thani governor said he had been briefed on the matter and would make the test results public as soon as they were available.


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