Myanmar & COVID-19

COVID-19 Rips Through Myanmar’s Prisons

By Salai Thant Zin 29 October 2020

Pathein, Ayeyarwady Region — COVID-19 has struck a prison in Ayeyarwady Region, the second outbreak in a prison in Myanmar, with 104 convicts, staff and their relatives testing positive.

A Maubin prisoner was admitted to the town’s hospital on Oct. 23 with COVID-19 symptoms. After he tested positive, 150 inmates and staff in his block were tested and 69 were found positive. And 35 more positive tests were reported on Tuesday.

The region’s Public Health Department said some newly arrived inmates, staff and their relatives were among those testing positive.

Earlier this month, 157 prisoners and two staff were infected with the virus at Tharyarwady Prison in Bago Region.

Maubin District Health Department sent three inmates who had completed their prison terms and three prison staff and four of their relatives to a converted COVID-19 treatment center at the University of Computer Studies in Maubin.

The rest are now quarantined with treatment from the health department at an isolation ward at the prison.

There were reports that many more inmates were found infected with coronavirus in Maubin Prison but the Public Health Department only said tests are ongoing.

Maubin resident Ko Aung Mya Than told The Irrawaddy: “I learned from my friends that female inmates at Maubin were being moved to another block and the infected inmates were kept in isolation at the women’s block. The prison has been placed under lockdown and court trials for inmates have been suspended.”

Stay-at-home orders have been in effect since Sept. 25 in Maubin, Pathein and Pyapon townships in Ayeyarwady Region.

On Wednesday morning, there were 945 COVID-19 cases in the region and Maubin has seen the largest number of cases, followed by Pathein and Pyapon townships. Of 945 patients, 603 have recovered and have been discharged from hospital and 342 others are still receiving hospital treatment, according to the Public Health Department.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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