The Southeast Asian country of Laos recorded its first death from coronavirus on Sunday, losing its place among the few countries yet to suffer a fatality, state media said.

The victim was a 53-year-old Vietnamese woman who had underlying medical problems, including diabetes, who worked at a karaoke club in a village outside the capital Vientiane, the state-run Vientiane Times website quoted the national COVID-19 taskforce as saying.

Infections have rocketed in the country of nine million since last month, when the worst surges also began in neighbouring Thailand and Cambodia.

Laos has still identified only 1 302 infections since the pandemic began.

 Vietnam says new COVID-19 outbreak threatens stability:

Meanwhile, Vietnam reported 102 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday as the Southeast Asian country battled a fast-spreading outbreak which Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said threatened political stability if not brought under control.

The new cases raised the total to 3 332 since the pandemic began, with 35 deaths, the Ministry of Health said.
Vietnam has been praised for its record in containing its outbreaks quickly through targeted mass testing and a strict, centralised quarantine programme.

But a new outbreak emerged late last month and has spread rapidly in the country, infecting 333 people in 25 cities and provinces, including the capital Hanoi, and leaving around 10 hospitals under lockdown.

“The risk for the outbreak to spread nationwide is very high,” Chinh said on Sunday. “We need to deploy stronger measures to curb the outbreak.

“If the outbreak spread nationwide, it would affect political stability, people’s health and the National Assembly and People’s Council elections and the consequence would be unpredictable.”

Chinh said coronavirus infections in neighbouring countries has put pressure on Vietnam, adding that illegal immigrants were among the prime sources of the virus.

Of the 102 new cases, 92 were transmitted locally, the health ministry said