Myanmar’s Education Ministry Closes Offices Amid COVID-19 Scare

By Htet Naing Zaw 8 April 2020

Naypyitaw — The Education Ministry has temporarily closed two of its offices in Naypyitaw after a suspected COVID-19 case was reported, the ministry’s spokesman U Ko Lay Win told The Irrawaddy.

“We have imposed lockdowns on both offices 13 and 21 after we have found a suspected patient. He is a daily wage earner at Office 13. He is old. We sent him to the 1,000-bed hospital,” U Ko Lay Win said.

His throat swab has been sent to Yangon for lab tests and his apartment block is also under lockdown as a preventive measure, said U Ko Lay Win, who is also the director-general of the Basic Education Department.

“If he tests positive for coronavirus, we will have to trace others who came into close contact with him. The two offices are not completely closed with a few senior staff going go to their offices,” he said.

The deputy director of the Naypyitaw Health Department, Dr. Myat Wunna Soe, said the Health and Sports Ministry did not give the lockdown orders but the Education Ministry closed the offices because staff were worried.

“We have told the Education Ministry that we are still testing and the case has not yet been confirmed as COVID-19. But ministry staff were worried and dare not go to the offices,” he said.

Disinfectant had reportedly been sprayed at the apartment building but not on ministry orders, said Dr. Myat Wunna Soe. Ministry staff had inspected the building and would consider preventive measures, he added.

Naypyitaw’s only COVID-19 patient, a Swiss woman who works for the United Nations, will soon be discharged from the hospital after testing negative. Nineteen others have tested negative in Naypyitaw, according to the capital’s health department.

By Wednesday at noon, there were 22 COVID-19 cases in Myanmar with three deaths.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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