Laos asks Thailand to help Lao workers overcome COVID-19 crisis

A masked rider passes by That Luang in Lao capital Vientiane on Aug. 4, 2021.

VIENTIANE--Lao National Assembly (NA) President Xaysomphone Phomvihane has asked Thailand to help Lao nationals working in the neighboring country overcome the COVID-19 crisis.

Xaysomphone made the proposal while holding talks with the speaker of the lower house of Thailand's Parliament, Chuan Leekpai, via videoconference on Tuesday.

The NA president also requested Chuan to push concerned sectors in Thailand to assist Lao workers, especially in facilitating their return to Laos, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.

Latest statistics show that more than 246,000 Lao workers have returned from Thailand since the pandemic began, with around 150,000 coming back in 2020.

A recent major outbreak of COVID-19 in Thailand over the past few months resulted in the cutting of many jobs and forcing hundreds of Lao workers to return home.

At least 30 percent of those who returned brought the coronavirus with them, ramping up pressure on Laos' efforts to contain the spread of infections.

During the talks, Xaysomphone thanked Thailand for helping Lao workers in the past and for providing medical equipment to support Laos' battle against the pandemic.

The two leaders said they highly valued the development of bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries, especially in economic relations, trade, investment, tourism, education and health.

The two sides agreed to push for the implementation of agreements signed by the two countries in past years for mutual benefits.

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