As New COVID Wave Hits Myanmar, Daily Cases Soar

By The Irrawaddy 29 June 2021

Myanmar had a record new number of COVID-19 cases on Monday with 1,225 positive tests from 6,586 conducted tests and 12 deaths, the highest spike and death toll since the recent wave in May.

The cases have been increasing from less than 200 on June 12 to over 1,200 on Monday,

On Monday, Myanmar had 154,385 COVID-19 cases with 3,309 deaths, according to the junta-controlled health ministry. The ministry has imposed stay-at-home orders on 11 townships in Sagaing and Bago regions and Chin and Shan states.

Following the February coup, COVID-19 testing dropped as health care staff joined the civil disobedience movement (CDM), refusing to work for the military regime. The regime since Feb. 8 has called on health staff to return to work.

Under the ousted civilian National League for Democracy government, around 16,000 to 18,000 swab tests a day were carried out in January.

But between February and early June, only around 1,500 to 2,000 tests per day were administered.

The number of daily swab tests has increased again between 3,000 and 7,000 since June 12.

Most cases were reported in the border towns with India, China and Bangladesh and Yangon, Ayeyarwady and Bago regions and the junta has yet to come up with effective measures to contain the virus.

The health ministry said on Monday that it had distributed over 12 million surgical masks since June 1 and carried out health awareness activities.

State-run media reported that three mutant strains of coronavirus have been detected in Myanmar, including the Delta strain from India.

The junta is expanding quarantine centers, opening dedicated hospital wards and promoting vaccines from India and China.

Myanmar’s COVID-19 vaccine program has also struggled under the junta with millions of civilians refusing the jab and thousands of health workers choosing to go on strike and join the CDM.

The NLD government started a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination program on January 27 with health-care staff and volunteer medical workers the first to receive shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine donated by India.

But following the military takeover on Feb. 1, almost all health workers have refused to receive the second jab in protest against military rule.

The regime claimed in May that more than 1.7 million citizens have received two jabs.

However, many people have refused to get inoculated due to distrust of the military’s quality control of COVID-19 vaccines.

“We are not getting the jabs so we have to test for COVID-19 every time we travel to Naypyitaw,” said a lawyer from Yangon who is representing State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during her Naypyitaw trials and needs a certificate proving a negative COVID-19 test.

You may also like these stories:

Myanmar Jade Industry Risks Becoming Regime’s Slush Fund: Report

Myanmar Regime Offers no Help as Kalaymyo Struggles With COVID-19 Outbreak 

Worried About COVID-19 Spike, Detained Suu Kyi Urges People for More Caution