Yangon – Myanmar has confirmed 18 imported cases of COVID-19 in those who returned from Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates from May 16 to 20, raising the country’s confirmed cases to 199.
The health ministry said 41 out of the 199 coronavirus cases have been imported from other countries.
Myanmar reported no new COVID-19 cases for two days on May 14 and 15. Then a 32-year-old man from Chin State, who was among 391 migrants deported by the Malaysian government on chartered flights on May 11, tested positive on May 16.
On May 17, Myanmar announced positive tests for a 41-year-old migrant returning from Malaysia to Pazundaung Township in Yangon and a 57-year-old man in Yangon who had not left the country and had no contact history with a known COVID-19 patient.
U Khin Maung Win, Yangon Region’s lawmaker for Pazundaung, told The Irrawaddy that the patient was among nearly 100 migrants stranded in Malaysia who was brought back to Yangon on May 8 on a repatriation flight.
On Monday, two COVID-19 cases were reported in Karen State, one in Tanintharyi Region and another in Rakhine State.
The regional governments told The Irrawaddy that the patients were among the migrants deported from Malaysia.
Myanmar also reported COVID-19 cases with three returnees deported from Malaysia on Tuesday. The other travelers tested negative, the health ministry said.
Since April 30, Myanmar has organized flights to bring home nationals stranded by flight suspensions and COVID-19 restrictions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said by Wednesday 2,395 nationals had been brought home from countries including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the UAE, UK and US.
Tens of thousands more have returned overland from Thailand and China.
A 34-year-old woman from Shan State and a 60-year-old woman from Yangon returning from the UAE tested positive on Tuesday while being held in government quarantine in Yangon’s Hlaing Township.
On May 20, six returnees from the UAE also tested COVID-19 positive while being placed in quarantine in Insein Township, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.
It said by Tuesday that 61,883 people had been held in quarantine across the country.
Dr. Than Naing Soe, a health ministry spokesman, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that all those who had returned since May 11 would be tested after returnees from Malaysia were found to be infected with the virus.
The health ministry is conducting approximately 700 COVID-19 tests per day, he said. Those with known contact with a coronavirus patient were being tested as a priority followed by people reporting a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms. Finally, those placed under quarantine were being tested, said Dr. Than Naing Soe.
The ministry said it had conducted 16,550 tests by Thursday morning, with six COVID-19 deaths and 108 recoveries.
COVID-19 cases have been reported everywhere across the country apart from in Kayah State.
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