Residents Fined for Failing to use Face Masks in Myanmar’s Yangon

By Aung Thiha 14 May 2020

Yangon — The Yangon authorities on Wednesday started imposing fines on residents who leave their homes without face masks, as the mandatory order to wear masks took effect in the commercial capital.

The Yangon regional Coronavirus Disease 2019 Control and Response Committee announced on Monday that residents who go outside their home with their faces uncovered shall face legal action ranging from fines to a jail term of up to six months under the Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases Law.

According to the law, residents who violate restrictions face fines of 5,000 to 50,000 kyats (US$3.60 to $36) or a six-month jail term.

On Wednesday, 12 men and a woman in Pazundaung Township were fined 5,000 kyats each for failing to wear a face mask, chairman of the township municipality U Myint Myat Thu told The Irrawaddy.

“The government has done this for the sake of public health. The regional government has already announced that legal action will be taken. The township COVID-19 committee has also planned to continue punishing the violators,” he said.

Teams comprising the members of township COVID-19 committee and police, health and municipal officials watched out for violators across the township. Then the township health chief filed complaints and the township court imposed fines, he said.

Yangon regional lawmakers for other townships also confirmed that similar action had been taken in their constituencies.

“Nobody came out without wearing a mask on Wednesday. So no action was taken. If we find the violators in the next days, we’ll take action against them,” Hlaing Township lawmaker U Kyaw Kyaw Tun told The Irrawaddy.

The latest order also includes a ban on gatherings of more than five people, except for those carrying out government duties, commuters, people transporting permitted commodities, medical staff or anyone taking a patient for medical care, people involved in court proceedings and for those arranging funerals.

As of Thursday morning, Myanmar has reported 181 COVID-19 cases, including six deaths. Yangon has been by far the hardest-hit region of Myanmar, with 146 patients.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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