Myanmar Mulls Home Treatment for Mild COVID-19 Cases in Yangon
By Zue Zue 17 December 2020
YANGON—Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports is weighing a plan to allow certain COVID-19 patients in Yangon to isolate at home, instead of requiring them to stay at hospitals or health centers.
The idea was raised at a meeting between Union Health Minister Dr. Myint Htwe and medical superintendents of COVID-19 centers in Yangon Region on Tuesday.
Under the proposal, the ministry would implement home isolation for asymptomatic patients without underlying health conditions. Depending on the severity of their case, age, underlying health conditions, number of family members, and space available for isolation in their houses, patients would be treated at home after their health conditions are assessed at hospitals or COVID-19 centers, according to Dr. Khin Khin Gyi, the director of the ministry’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Unit.
The ministry would regularly monitor the health conditions of such patients through video calls, she said.
Currently, COVID-19 patients with mild or moderate symptoms are kept at COVID-19 centers for 11 days, asymptomatic patients for 10 days, and patients with severe symptoms for 20 days.
“We will conduct a pilot home isolation in collaboration with the Yangon Region Health Department, township medical officers and physicians. We plan to start it soon,” Dr. Khin Khin Gyi said.
The ministry has been forced to consider home isolation for some patients to alleviate the burden on local health workers. With new cases nationwide numbering over 1,000 a day, many health workers, private doctors and volunteers need to return to their home regions and states. Furthermore, the number of donors and volunteers has gradually decreased, Dr. Khin Khin Gyi said.
Respective township COVID-19 committees and General Administration Department employees will be responsible for ensuring patients and their relatives follow COVID-19 health guidelines, and township medical officers will be tasked with monitoring patients’ conditions.
Dr. Myint Htwe said the ministry will impose new restrictions if the numbers continue to rise due to the public’s neglect of COVID-19 regulations.
As of Wednesday evening, Myanmar had reported 111,900 cases, with 90,453 recoveries and 2,346 deaths. As of Dec. 12, Yangon topped the list among regions and states, with 75,699 cases and 2,074 deaths.
According to a Dec. 12 announcement by the World Health Organization, Myanmar’s infection rate stands at 1,971 COVID-19 cases per 1 million people, and the death rate is 41 per 1 million people.
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