Over 8,000 Citizens Prosecuted in Myanmar for COVID-19 Breaches

By San Yamin Aung 19 June 2020

YANGON — More than 8,000 people were prosecuted in nearly three months across the country for breaching COVID-19 rules, according to the President’s Office.

Myanmar reported the first COVID-19 cases on March 23 and has since reported 286 cases with six deaths and more than half of the patients recovering.

Several COVID-19 restrictions, including a ban on public events and large gatherings, suspension of travel visas and international flights were extended until June 30 after the continuation of imported cases as nationals returned from overseas and a few infections inside the country were reported.

President’s Office spokesman U Zaw Htay told the media on Friday that 8,470 people have faced action since late March under the Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases Law and 176 people under the Natural Disaster Management Law.

Businesses which failed to follow the government’s coronavirus prevention instructions have also been prosecuted.

Violations have included assaulting and abusing health care workers, refusing to stay in or fleeing from quarantine centers, organizing religious gatherings and weddings or other defiance of the ban on gatherings and failing to follow nighttime curfews.

Last month, Yangon’s chief minister U Phyo Min Thein, his wife and members of his cabinet were reported with the Yangon police for allegedly breaking the Natural Disaster Management Law for attending a Buddhist event. The chief minister denied the accusations and the police did not accept the report.

The National League for Democracy told the media that it had warned the chief minister against breaching restrictions on gatherings.

The communicable diseases law carries a maximum punishment of six months in prison while those prosecuted under the disaster law can face up to three years in prison.