Burma

Myanmar Junta Locks Down Indian Border Town After COVID-19 Outbreak

By The Irrawaddy 28 January 2022

More than 150 COVID-19 cases were reported over the past week in Tamu on the Indian border in Sagaing Region, according to Tamu District medical superintendent Dr. Thura.

Myanmar’s military regime on Wednesday imposed a lockdown on Tamu. Swabs from 48 patients were sent to Yangon on Wednesday to diagnose the variant.

“Most the infected people are teachers and pupils and the most common symptoms are sore throat and cough. They don’t have severe symptoms,” said Dr. Thura.

Coronavirus tests were carried out at No. 2 Basic Education High School in Tamu on Monday. More than 50 positive tests were taken and the town was locked down.

Some of those infected were unvaccinated and those with more serious symptoms are being treated at Tamu District Hospital. Those with minor symptoms are being quarantined at the school, said Dr. Thura.

Tamu Township Health Department carried out COVID-19 tests on its contacts and central market traders. More than 150 cases had been reported by Wednesday.

The health department urged residents to stay at home and anyone who had contact with those infected to take a test at the township hospital, said Dr. Thura.

Many of the town’s medical staff are on strike as part of the civil disobedience movement against the regime, with only three doctors and three nurses left at the district-level 100-bed Tamu hospital.

Meanwhile, many civil society organization staff in Tamu have fled junta arrests, meaning the township is ill-prepared to help COVID-19 patients.

“We have adequate medicines and few staff and have requested help from other townships,” said the medical superintendent.

A male Tamu resident told The Irrawaddy: “We have never had so many positive cases in Tamu. Last year the regime was giving Chinese jabs but many refused to have one.”

Residents fear being trapped in the town because of the lockdown if fighting breaks out.

A woman resident said: “Food prices have not increased as the lockdown was imposed only a few days ago. We are worried what might happen if there is fighting while the town is under a COVID-19 lockdown.”

Junta troops and Sagaing resistance fighters clashed at a military checkpoint outside the town on Thursday.


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