Suu Kyi Warns of COVID-19 Spread After Myanmar’s Election Celebrations
By Zaw Zaw Htwe 17 November 2020
Yangon – Myanmar’s State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has warned that the spread of COVID-19 could increase following several gatherings celebrating her party’s election victory.
Since polls closed on Nov. 8, National League for Democracy (NLD) supporters have gathered to celebrate in major cities.
Health officials said shouting, singing and cheering in crowds will speed up the spread of coronavirus.
Three NLD supporters tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 9 while being treated in Yangon General Hospital after being injured in a fight.
About 200 of the 4,000 people who traveled to vote have tested positive without displaying symptoms, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.
In a televised speech on Monday evening, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the infection rate is bound to rise after the election.
The infection rates have increased slightly in Bago, Ayeyarwady and Mandalay regions along with Yangon, the country’s COVID-19 hotspot, she said.
She added: “That is why I want you all to be vigilant: we can never be too careful.”
The health ministry reminded citizens that gatherings of more than 29 people were banned after three NLD supporters attending a victory celebration tested COVID-19 positive in Yangon on Nov. 9.
The ban on gatherings was introduced on Aug. 16 to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Dr. Khin Khin Gyi, the director of the health ministry’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Unit, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that the ministry has called on regional and state health departments to step up surveillance, contact tracing and COVID-19 tests since large gatherings occurred after the general election.
She said the ministry has provided enough drugs at hospitals for COVID-19 patients with underlying diseases to reduce death rates.
She called on people to take precautions and avoid crowds.
“We can control the virus if people comply with containing procedures,” said Dr. Khin Khin Gyi.
Myanmar has been experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 since Aug. 16, when the country’s first domestic transmission in a month was detected in the Rakhine State capital, Sittwe.
Since then, Myanmar has regularly reported more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases per day.
On Tuesday morning, Myanmar reported 70,161 cases, including 1,599 fatalities and 53,299 recoveries.
Cases have been reported in more than 200 townships across 15 regions and states.
On Monday, Yangon reported 53,858 cases, followed by Bago Region with 3,659 cases, Rakhine State with 3,304 cases, Mandalay Region with 3,304 cases and Ayeyarwady Region with 1,961 cases.
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