Myanmar Records First Cases of Omicron COVID-19 Variant

By The Irrawaddy 29 December 2021

Myanmar confirmed its first four cases of the highly infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19 from returnees from Dubai, the junta-controlled Ministry of Health said on Tuesday, raising fears that the country is set to experience another devastating wave of coronavirus.

The ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday night that 30 laboratory samples from returnees infected with COVID-19 were tested using Omicron Real Time PCR Testing and Genome Sequencing Testing. Omicron was found in four of the samples, according to results obtained on Tuesday.

Only one of the four infected people showed symptoms and all are in good condition. “All four were monitored at the treatment center and discharged from the treatment center due to good health,” the ministry’s statement said.

Myanmar has already experienced a third wave of COVID-19, after the military regime relaxed restrictions to demonstrate to the outside world that the country is back to normal after the junta’s February coup. With the public healthcare system in chaos following the military takeover, the last coronavirus outbreak saw daily record death tolls.

Previous COVID-19 outbreaks since March 2020, when the virus was first detected in Myanmar, occurred under the now ousted civilian government and caused far fewer fatalities as the healthcare system was functioning and adequate drugs and care could be provided to COVID-19 patients.

187 new COVID-19 cases were reported over the past 24 hours in Myanmar with three new deaths from the disease.

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