Myanmar & COVID-19

Myanmar Authorities Sue Karaoke Restaurant Bosses After COVID-19 Outbreak

By Zue Zue 2 October 2020

Yangon — The authorities in Yangon’s Thingangyun Township have opened a case against the owner and manager of a karaoke or KTV restaurant where more than 90 people caught COVID-19, making it the largest single cluster found in the city.

The head of the township health department filed a lawsuit under Article 25 of the Disaster Management Law against Music Zone KTV’s owner U Zaw Min and the unnamed manager with the township police on Sept. 29, township administrator U Aung Htike told The Irrawaddy.

Two female staff at the venue tested positive for coronavirus in early September and 92 others tested positive later. All of them have recovered and been discharged from hospital, according to U Aung Htike.

The owner was allowed to operate after promising to reduce the number of tables from 100 to 30 in line with social distancing measures and to follow other COVID-19 guidelines. But when the authorities inspected, they found 119 staff were employed for the 30 tables, said U Maung Maung Oo, a Yangon regional MP representing Thingangyun.

There were rumors that the venue, which employs 75 male and 44 female staff, is owned by a retired government official, but the authorities refused to reveal details about the owner.

The infection cluster at Music Zone KTV accounted for one-third of the COVID-19 cases in Thingangyun Township at the time, which reported 656 cases on Friday morning, the second-highest in Yangon Region after Insein Township.

The Central Committee for COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment announced on Aug. 15 that karaoke venues, bars and clubs must close in coronavirus hotspots. It has opened cases against violators under the Disaster Management Law.

Those found guilty face up to three years in prison.

The government has issued stay-at-home in Yangon, restricting movement between townships.

On Friday morning, Myanmar reported 14,383 COVID-19 cases, up from less than 400 cases in the second week of August. The death toll has increased from six to 321 in that period.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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