COVID-19 Situation in Myanmar
COVID-19 Situation in Myanmar
In Myanmar, it was confirmed that the first two cases of COVID-19 was on 23 March 2020, so the government announced that Covid-19 has occurred in our country on 24th March, 2020. After this announcement, all universities, private and government high schools, including primary schools were closed and then all universities students had to go back to their hometown. Most of the government offices were also closed and all officers were told to focus on how to go back to their home at that time. However, at this time, most of the Ministry offices were directly recommended to place office staffs in rotation to do their usual duty and work at 50% of the total officers, while the other half are stay at home. In this way, there is no lack and delay in daily work duty in the office. Then, all Universities were told to provide lecture class by using internet, but the lack of electricity and delayed internet connection pose a big problem.
Fortunately, our state counsellor was able to take the initiative to try to overcome the the difficult circumstances by using strict and valuable policies management. The country's popular leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, has attempted to use the strength of her personality to spearhead the government's response. She launched her first personal Facebook page on March 31, to directly communicate with the people. On 31 March 2020, the Committee for Corona Virus Disease 19 (COVID-19), headed by First Vice President Myint Swe and made up of members from the various union ministries, was formed by President Win Myint, to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Myanmar. Then, most of the doctors and health officers were mobilized to care for the patients who suffer from Covid 19 disease. The other NGO volunteers are also helping the people who have to live in quarantine due to foreign travelling. After this two first case of Covid 19 infection, many more infected patients were gradually increasing until now. Laboratory test for Covid 19 cases were performed at the National Health Laboratory (Yangon) and Department of Medical Research (Yangon). Establishment of Laboratory for testing of Covid 19 will be performed at Mandalay and Mawlamying in June.
All people were not only trying to buy all food in all supermarkets but also focused on staying at home when the government announced the confirmation case of Covid 19 in Myanmar. For this current big issue, all supermarkets and medicine stores are open daily for 24hrs so as not to lead to the lacking of foods and drugs in cities. To cover the panic buying, the government announced how much they can buy for one family and each one, then volunteer or office staff is checking the body temperature of everyone who enter anyplace, for example, office, market, or the entrance of apartment.
The first case of Covid 19 that occurred in the Chin ethnic Myanmar nationality were men who came back from England and transit in Thailand. After that, many cases appeared and the government suddenly announced curfew law in some of cities which became pandemic area of Covid 19 disease, especially in Yangon. Moreover, the most important festival in Myanmar, Thingyan Water Festival, that is to be celebrated in April, was postponed and Thingyan holidays were also canceled, due to the fright of people crowding their way back to their home this holiday by using transportation such as bus, train, plane etc., and thus spreading the disease. Then, Yangon was under lockdown from April 10 to April 19, coinciding with the Thingyan New Year holiday. A curfew was also imposed from 10pm to 4am. Moreover, the government also announced an extension of the lockdown in seven townships of Yangon after April 19, although it did not say until when. Overall, Yangon is suffering the most severe pandemic transmission like that of the Christian religious gathering in Korea. Therefore, the government has also banned the gatherings of five or more people but, as of April 17, it has not decided whether to extend the full lockdown.
Myanmar has been accused of its denial of the existence of the coronavirus deaths and victims, given the inadequate healthcare system compared to its neighbouring countries, the large, active borders with China and Thailand, both heavily effected by COVID-19, and Myanmar's quickly increasing connections with international airport hubs. As of today, Covid 19 positive cases have reached 155 and 6 have died but then, 43 people have recovered (information from facebook page of the Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar, 3rd May, 2020).
For more information: https://mohs.gov.mm/Main/content/publication/2019-ncov.
Contributed by Yu Nandi Thaw
An alumnus of SSP from Myanmar