Detained Myanmar State Counselor, President Express ‘Grave Concern’ for People as COVID-19 Surges

By The Irrawaddy 12 July 2021

Myanmar’s detained leaders State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint have voiced concern for the people’s health amid an upsurge of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The pair made the comments during a meeting with their legal team ahead of their weekly trial hearings on Monday. The court heard from prosecution witnesses in three ongoing trials against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and one against U Win Myint.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi voiced her grave concern for the people during the third wave of COVID-19 in the country. And President U Win Myint also said he was worried about the upsurge in the disease and told us to share his good wishes with the people,” the legal defense team said.

It is the third time Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has raised her concerns regarding COVID-19 since her detention.

“President U Win Myint also said he is praying for all the people of Myanmar,” said lawyer Daw San Mar Lar Nyunt.

Myanmar is experiencing a third wave of coronavirus infections, with the numbers of cases and deaths rising sharply since last month and nearly 90 percent of the country’s townships—or 296 of 330—reporting COVID-19 cases since May.

On Sunday alone, Myanmar reported 82 fatalities—the highest death toll since the military coup in February—and 3,461 new COVID-19 cases, after testing 10,114 swab samples, according to the junta’s Health Ministry. The daily new case load is up from fewer than 200 on June 12. As of Sunday, Myanmar had reported a total of 192,213 COVID-19 cases and 3,833 deaths since March last year.

COVID-19 testing declined from between about 16,000 and 18,000 swab tests a day in January under the ousted NLD civilian government to fewer than 2,000 per day between February and early June. Thousands of healthcare professionals are taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), refusing to work for the military regime.

Swab testing increased again in late June, with over 8,000 tests conducted.

The military regime recently ordered all schools to close again after reopening them last month. After locking down 45 townships last month, the junta on Monday imposed stay-at-home orders on 18 more—six in Bago and 12 in Yangon regions—taking the total number of locked down townships to 63, in Naypyitaw, Sagaing, Bago, Yangon, Mandalay, Magwe and Ayeyarwaddy regions and Chin, Shan and Mon states.

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