Myanmar Health Worker on China Border Tests COVID-19 Positive

By Zarni Mann 12 June 2020

Mandalay – A health worker at the checkpoint in Lwe Je on the Chinese border in Kachin State tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and nearly 150 people who had contact with her have been traced, according to health officials.

On Thursday, 12 positive cases were reported and the 24-year-old midwife from Kachin State, who had no travel history or reported contact with coronavirus patients, was among them, the Ministry of Health and Sports said.

According to Kachin State’s COVID-19 control and emergency response committee, the midwife was part of the health team at Lwe Je border in May and early June to perform medical checkups for returnees from China.

“We think she was infected by someone returning from China as she has no history of travel or contact with a known patient. Currently, she is in good health and was taken to the general hospital in Bhamo Township,” said U Tint Naing, the deputy director of the committee.

Swabs from 20 health workers at the border were sent for lab tests on June 4 with the midwife testing positive on June 11.

Now 21 health, administration and immigration staff who worked with her at the border are being held in quarantine.

The midwife is from Wein Kham village in Momauk Township in Kachin State. She has also vaccinated children in the village and went to Momauk hospital for training.

Since she worked at Lwe Je checkpoint – through which over 10,000 migrant workers have returned from China since April – it is suspected the midwife was infected by a silent carrier.

The committee said approximately 150 people in contact with her were being traced and 71 swabs were being taken on Friday.

“Swabs were already taken from 71 people and more will come. We will send swabs to the Yangon lab. Home quarantine for the children and her family in Wein Kham and Momauk has already been ordered,” U Tint Naing added.

A high-school teacher from the house where she stayed in Momauk is also being quarantined. The teacher is in Myitkyina University to check exam papers with 56 other teachers who are all now being held in quarantine at the university.

“We are trying to trace the people who had contact and will take swabs from them,” U Tint Naing added.

The health ministry reported that Myanmar has had 261 COVID-19 confirmed cases, six death and 165 recoveries as of Friday.

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