Burma

Myanmar Govt Warns of Jail Time for Not Reporting Coronavirus Suspects

By San Yamin Aung 28 February 2020

YANGON — Myanmar’s Health Ministry on Friday labeled the coronavirus an “epidemic or notifiable disease” under the Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases Law. It means anyone who falls sick with the virus must report to the authorities. Failure to do carries up to a month in prison or a fine of 30,000 kyats (US$21).

The ministry said the measures were to prevent the spread of Covid-19. It has previously said many cases could occur suddenly although no cases have been reported so far.

The virus has been reported in at least 48 countries with around 83,000 cases worldwide.

The death toll has exceeded 2,800 with the vast majority of deaths in mainland China, where the virus emerged late last year.

Article 9 of the diseases law states that the relatives or an employer of someone with symptoms are required to report immediately to their nearest clinic or hospital.

The Ministry of Health can also order citizens to either leave or remain in an infected area and demand that public gatherings close. Failure to follow either article can result in a one-month prison term and a 50,000 kyats ($35) fine.

Article 10 says medics are required to immediately report any diagnosis of a disease. Failure to comply can result in prosecution.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday (Thursday) that it would be a “fatal mistake” for any country to assume it would be spared the coronavirus. The organization has labeled it an international emergency.

A total of 42 coronavirus suspects have been tested in Myanmar as of Thursday but all tests have been negative, according to the health ministry.

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