Govt lends helping hand to Lao students in Wuhan

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Lao students who are currently stranded in the Chinese city of Wuhan are in good hands as they are receiving assistance from the governments of Laos and China, the Lao government has confirmed.

The two governments have assisted 43 Lao students who have been marooned in Wuhan due to the virus outbreak as well as 87 more in other provinces.

The National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 prevention and control has asked the government to help students in Wuhan by giving them US$200 a month in March and April. The government is currently considering this proposal.

In China, the government has been assisting all foreign students, both in Wuhan and other provinces.

Students confined to campuses in Wuhan have been given food, other daily essentials, dormitory accommodation, and healthcare. In the meantime, they are continuing their studies online and via video.

The Lao Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a joint press conference on Tuesday to report on the condition of Lao students in Wuhan and other Chinese cities.

Minister of Education and Sports and a co-chair at the press conference, Mrs Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun, said “All of the Lao students in Wuhan and in other provinces are safe and none of them have contracted the virus.”

“There are 43 Lao students in Wuhan. They cannot go out and must stay in their dormitories because Wuhan authorities have locked down the city. No one can enter or leave, except for certain experts and officials,” Mrs Sengdeuane said.

“Students in other cities in China are able to leave their campuses and go outside.”

Also speaking at the press conference, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Thongphan Savanphet said the ministry has asked the Lao consulate-general in Changsha, Hunan province, to provide 40,000 yuan for students, closely monitor the situation, and to report to the ministry.

The Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have provided 15 million kip for the students as a goodwill gesture.

“The National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 prevention and control will continue to assist Lao students in China. We are asking the government to provide US$200 a month for each student and are waiting to submit this proposal to the government,” Mr Thongphan said.

In addition, the committee will seek funding from other sources to support Lao students and the Chinese government.

Covid-19 has spread to many cities in China and beyond, but there has so far been no confirmed case of the virus in Laos, according to the Ministry of Health.

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