More Than Half of Myanmar’s Chin State Under COVID Lockdown

By The Irrawaddy 5 June 2021

More than half of Chin State in northwestern Myanmar has been locked down after the military regime imposed stay-at-home orders for four more townships in the state due to the COVID-19 spike.

After seeing the rapid spread of coronavirus in the region, the junta-controlled Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) on Friday imposed stay-at-home orders upon four Chin State townships: Hakha, Tedim, Falam and Thantlang.

On May 28, Tonzang Township of Chin State was also placed under stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 spike. As of Friday, five out of a total of nine townships in the state have been locked down. Chin State is one of Myanmar’s least developed regions.

Under the stay-at-home order, only government staff and employees of companies and factories are allowed to go work. Only one person from each household is allowed to go shopping.

Residents must ask for official permission if they have to leave their homes on urgent matters or if more than one person has to leave home, said MOHS.

Since May 31, about 30 to more than 50 COVID-19 cases were reported in two Chin State townships—Tonzang and Falam.

Tonzang Township bordering India, is seeing the rapid spread of coronavirus, reporting 20 to 52 cases daily in recent days.

Amid the COVID-19 spike, the township is facing a lack of medicine and ventilators for COVID-19 patients, said Dr. Htan Shin Khaing, head of the Tonzang Township Health Department.

“We don’t even have vitamin supplements to give to the patients. The medicines we requested from the health ministry have not arrived due to instability,” he said.

In the last six days, the COVID-19 death toll reached six in the township after three more patients died in a single day on Thursday and a 36-year-old COVID-19 patient died on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has seen an outbreak of COVID-19 in Sagaing Region’s Kale Township, which has been placed under stay-at-home orders on Wednesday after reporting 34 COVID-19 cases in a single day.

On Friday alone, about six people died of COVID-19 in the township.

Myanmar reported 212 new cases of COVID-19 cases across the country on Friday, the largest jump in cases since the military coup.

The previous biggest rise in Myanmar’s COVID-19 tally was 122, which was reported on Thursday.

As of Friday, Myanmar had reported a total of 144,157 COVID-19 cases including 3,221 deaths and 132,412 people who have recovered.

Myanmar has seen a decline in daily cases since December last year.

Around 400-500 new COVID-19 cases were being reported per day in December, down from a peak of more than 1,400 daily cases. The then ruling NLD government had also planned to start the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination in the first week on February 2021.

However, the vaccination plan was interrupted after the military regime seized state power from the NLD government on Feb. 1.

Also, the country’s public health care system has collapsed after thousands of health care workers went on strike to protest the military regime.

Myanmar has seen increasing numbers of COVID-19 again since late May. The military regime has eased COVID-related restrictions including reopening religious sites, and allowing interstate visits among others since they came to power in February. On June 1, they opened schools across the country.

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