Myanmar & COVID-19

Courts Send COVID-19 Curfew Breakers to Prison in Myanmar

By Salai Thant Zin 23 April 2020

PATHEIN, Ayeyarwady Region—Local courts in Ayeyarwady Region have sentenced 24 people who broke the area’s overnight curfew to one month in prison.

The regional COVID-19 Control and Response Committee imposed a curfew across 26 townships in the region on April 18, banning people from going out between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

“They broke the curfew by going outside at night, so police detained them and township administrators filed lawsuits against them,” Ayeyarwady Region Police Force spokesperson Police Lieutenant-Colonel Tun Shwe told The Irrawaddy.

Since the curfew was imposed on Saturday, police and ward administrative bodies have carried out night patrols across 26 townships in the region. All 24 people who have been sentenced violated the order on Saturday and were detained.

Township administrators filed lawsuits against them under Section 188 of the Penal Code the following day. The violators were sent to prisons in Hinthada, Maubin and Pyapon townships on Sunday.

Violation of Section 188, which prohibits deliberate disobedience to an order “duly promulgated” by a public servant, is punishable by one month in prison, a fine or both.

According to the police, among the curfew violators are five people from Yangon and 12 local residents in Hinthada, as well as five local residents in Myanaung and one each in Bogale and Nyaungdon.

“The curfew is necessary for public security and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as it is highly contagious, and many prisoners have been released on amnesty. People should abide by this order,” said Pathein-based lawyer U Zaw Win Aung.

The curfew does not affect government staff on duty, sick individuals seeking health care services and family members of the deceased who are arranging funerals.

No COVID-19 cases have been reported in Ayeyarwady Region despite the fact that one month has passed since the first cases in Myanmar were reported.

Some people with possible COVID-19 symptoms have sought care at public hospitals in Pathein, Hinthada, Labutta and Myaungmya but all of them tested negative for the virus, according to the region’s health department.

There have been 127 COVID-19 cases in Myanmar as of Thursday, including five deaths and nine recoveries, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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