NE Fears: Is Myanmar Concealing the Facts of Covid-19 Cases?
| SANJOO THANGJAM, IMPHAL - 02 May 2020

NE Fears: Is Myanmar Concealing the Facts of Covid-19 Cases?

By Sanjoo Thangjam, Special Correspondent, IOP

Imphal, May 3, 2020: Is Myanmar concealing the facts on COVID-19? This question is being raised in India’s North Eastern states which have direct land borders with Myanmar. The people in the bordering states of Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, feels the dire need to strengthen sealing of Indo-Myanmar border as data of COVID-19 cases in the neighbouring country seems to be concealing the fact.

As claimed by the Ministry of Health and Sports, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, published in its website, the number of death due to COVID-19 is only 6 and the positive cases stands at 151, out of which 31 have been reported recovered.

The government report is skeptical, as MNTV, a Myanmar based television reported about the number of dead reaching 44 on April 27.

As per the report it was stated that all those died are people who were on quarantine. It said that 325 peoples were quarantined at Mandalay General Hospital, among these 183 people were reported to have been tested negative and discharged. Among those detained in the hospital 7 died on April 24, 5 died on April 25. With the 12 casualty the number of fatalities reached 44 as on April 27. In addition to new fatality the number of dead now reached 47.

Doctors at Mandalay General Hospital however said that those died were not related with COVID-19 pandemic. They died due to various diseases that had been associated with them. Among the diseases are Diabetes, High blood pressure, Cancer, hepatitis C, brain inflation, Lung disease, Symptoms of TB , Said Dr. Dundu, Chief Medical Officer of the Mandalay General Hospital. On April 28, one female patient dies at Sanya San Tun Hospital, Taunggyi.

Those died in the hospital were from Aungmyatasan, Changmyatasi, Mata yar, Moeguat, Kyatpyin Tapatkyin, Pwinoolwin, Sinkyai, Kawlin and Chanayetasan region of Myanmar, the TV report said.

In Myanmar, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement on May 1 extended by another two weeks the closure of all preschools and nurseries across the country to protect children from COVID-19, a senior official said according to Myanmar Times. Daw San San Aye, director general of Department of Social Welfare, said all voluntary preschools, private pre schools, private residential nurseries are ordered to remain close until May 15, the newspaper quoted.

The ministry’s original closure order covered the period from March 16 to April 30.

The first Coronavirus positive patient was detected in Myanmar on March 24, the day Manipur detected one. As for the state of Manipur both the positive cases has recovered and Manipur today is a COVID-19 free state. However, the positive case in Myanmar is on the rise and positive cases were detected in Kalay (not far from Chandel district of Manipur) and another in Tiddim state (around 157 Km from Behiang in CCpur district Manipur).

Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram share porous border of around 1640 Km with Myanmar. Some are fenced and some are well guarded. However, even the guarded border is not hundred percent safe with Myanmarese easily crossing it.

After the 2 positive cases were recovered, Chief Minister of Manipur said that this is just the beginning in the war against COVID -19. Yes the CM has rightly pointed out; Manipur along with other states bordering Myanmar should remain alert as there is a possibility of tress-passing the virus through human carrier from the Myanmar side.  

MPs of the Parliament of #Myanmar have donated part of their allowance to the National-Level Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019.

China's medical expert’s team had arrived in Myanmar on April 8. China sent a team of 12 medical experts to support the fight against #COVID19 in Myanmar. The group left SW China's Yunnan Province and arrived at Yangon International Airport, along with 5.3 tons of medical supplies for donation.

The Myanmar side said: Such help in need demonstrates the Pauk-Phaw friendship. China's experiences in fighting #COVID19 are worth learning. The help will enhance Myanmar's capability in the battle and contribute to an early victory.

Last week, as part of actions to protect the health and safety of persons held in detention facilities and in line with the Myanmar New Year tradition, the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar announced a pardon on 17 April and released close to 25,000 people.

It was disclosed on April 24, 2020 in a UN Press Release titled –‘UN Supports Government to Safeguard Prison Population Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak in Country’. The United Nations is also planning support for longer term mitigation strategies, such as reducing prison overcrowding, and ensuring the knowledge and resources needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all of Myanmar’s prisons and detention facilities.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) supported the Ministry of Health and Sports and non-governmental organizations to deliver life-saving antiretroviral (ART) medicine, provided referral contacts and ensured transportation for prisoners who are living with HIV.

“The United Nations welcomes the pardoning of deserving prisoners as part of Myanmar New Year tradition,” said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Ola Almgren.

“This also converges with the Government’s measures taken to prevent and contain the spread of the virus across various directions, and detention facilities is one of them,” said Mr. Almgren.

“The United Nations reiterates our support to the Government and the people of Myanmar in responding to the threat of COVID-19 across all areas and the commitment to leaving no one behind in all of our humanitarian, development, recovery and peacebuilding efforts,” stressed Mr. Almgren. 

https://myanmar.un.org/en/43033-un-supports-government-safeguard-prison-population-amidst-covid-19-outbreak-country

Image Courtesy - A man wearing a face mask rides his ride in front of the Chan Myae Market in Yangon. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar TimeChinese Military medical Team at Myanmar – China Daily 


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