COVID-19 Cases Spike at Myanmar’s Most Famous Beach Resort

By The Irrawaddy 30 June 2021

Thandwe, a Rakhine State town next to Myanmar’s most famous beach resort Ngapali, is battling a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections with the virus spreading fast in schools and courts.

As of Tuesday, 25 COVID-19 cases had been reported in Thandwe, less than a week after the first case in the town was recorded on June 24, according to local civil society organizations (CSOs).

A school in Kywe Thauk Gon Village near Ngapali Beach and another school in Lin Thar ward have been closed since June 25 due to coronavirus infections, said the Rakhine State Education Office chief U Tin Thein.

“At first the school in Kywe Thauk Gon Village was closed after a teacher there was infected with coronavirus. Her contacts were tested for the virus and her daughter tested positive. She goes to the school in Lin Thar ward, so we have instructed that school to close, too,” said U Tin Thein.

Two teachers and four students have caught the virus in Thandwe, he added.

Staff at the Thandwe District Court also tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, said U Thaung Tun from a local CSO.

“Four staff members from the court were infected with the virus. There have been 25 cases so far. People are concerned and some are not sending their children to school. And there are fewer people at the central market,” U Thaung Tun told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

Despite the COVID-19 spike, the court is continuing normal operations and Ngapali Beach and its hotels are open to visitors.

CSOs have teamed up with authorities to run COVID-19 checkpoints at the entrance and exit of Thandwe. Authorities are requiring residents to wear masks outside of their homes.

Sitagu Eye Hospital in Thandwe and Ngapali Hospital have been converted into quarantine centers with 50 people currently under quarantine.

Fresh COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported across Rakhine State, western Myanmar, with Sittwe, Maungdaw, Thandwe and Taungup all experiencing the third wave of coronavirus. More than 120 cases have been reported across Rakhine from January to June 28.

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