Police Commanders in Yangon Among Myanmar’s Latest COVID-19 Patients

By The Irrawaddy 4 July 2021

Amid a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and increasing lockdowns to contain it, Myanmar’s police are among the latest COVID-19 patients.

About 150 police commanders training for promotion at Yangon’s police promotion training center at the Central Investigation Department in Insein tested COVID-19 positive since late June, after an instructor tested positive, according to a police source.

Since late May the military regime has locked down 26 townships in Sagaing, Mandalay, Bago and Ayeyarwady regions and Chin and Shan states.

By July 3, Myanmar had reported 163,087 COVID-19 positive cases with 3,384 deaths. On Saturday, Myanmar reported 1,877 new cases after 9,054 swab tests were conducted, according to the junta-controlled Ministry of Health and Sports.

No previous outbreaks have been reported among Yangon’s police. Yangon has reported nearly 1,200cases over the past six days. Bago and Sagaing regions have reported the most coronavirus cases, respectively.

“There are 120 police lieutenants from around the country who are receiving training to become captains. Around 114 of them tested positive for COVID-19 and if added to the instructors, there are at least 150 people,” said a police officer in Yangon.

A doctor reportedly gave a sick police captain a COVID-19 test in late June. He said: “Others training with him at the academy and the CID [Criminal Investigation Department] also tested positive. Only six tested negative, out of 120.”

The captain and his team also visited the Shwe Pyithar interrogation center last month. Testing at the center proved negative. It is unknown where the first infection came from.

A total of 96 border guards in Maungdaw near Bangladesh in Rakhine State also reportedly tested positive on July 1.

The ministry announced last month that the new, more virulent coronavirus variants, including the Delta variant first identified in India, have been detected in Myanmar, warning that this will increase hospital admissions and deaths.

On Sunday, the regime locked down Pathein, Myaungmya and Thabaung townships in Ayeyarwady Region. On Saturday it enforced stay-at-home orders on Homalin Township in Sagaing Region, Pyin Oo Lwin Township in Mandalay Region and Nawnghkio Township in Shan State.

On Friday, the regime locked down seven townships in Mandalay City and Thayawady and Minhla townships in Bago.

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