Myanmar’s Health Minister Warns of COVID-19 Outbreak Threat Despite Infection Decline

By San Yamin Aung 8 June 2020

YANGON — Union Minister of Health and Sports Dr. Myint Htwe has warned of the potential for mass COVID-19 infections in different places at the same time if people let their guard down in the fight against the pandemic following a decline of infections in Myanmar.

Myanmar reported the first COVID-19 cases on March 23 and has since seen 243 cases with six deaths and more than half of the patients recovering. Since mid-May, there has only been one reported infection inside the country: a health assistant assigned to a Chinese border crossing. The other 52 coronavirus cases reported since then were imported from overseas.

The falling number of transmissions means many people have let their guard down, failing to follow preventative measures, including wearing masks when going outside and avoiding gatherings.

Dr. Myint Htwe said in a public message that COVID-19 is under control to a certain extent but it had not been completely halted.

He said there was a potential for exponential growth in cases after a long decline.

“There could be those who are asymptomatic or in an incubation period. Therefore, large numbers of infections in different places could occur at the same time. And if this happened, it might be difficult to control,” he said, calling for the public not to abandon preventative measures.

State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said on her Facebook page that the public should not abandon preventative measures and keep up social distancing.

“Keep social distancing, especially in the markets. And don’t forget to wear masks and wash your hands,” she posted, adding that she will repeat the reminders.