Myanmar & COVID-19

Myanmar Official in Suu Kyi’s Office Tests Positive for COVID-19

By Thiha Lwin 14 September 2020

Naypyitaw — An official at the State Counselor’s Office has tested positive for coronavirus with at least five COVID-19 cases reported among civil servants in Naypyitaw.

The Naypyitaw Health Department has tested civil servants, including President’s Office staff, who are in quarantine after having contact with a coronavirus-infected assistant director who helped organize a press conference at the President’s Office on Sept. 4.

A State Counselor’s Office staff member tested positive on Friday, the deputy director-general at Naypyitaw Health Department, Dr. Myat Wunna Soe, told The Irrawaddy.

He is the personal staff officer (PSO) to U Khin Maung Tin, the deputy minister at the State Counselor’s Office but the deputy minister himself tested negative, said U Zaw Htay, the director-general of the President’s Office. He told reporters on Monday that the deputy minister is in quarantine at a hotel and will be tested again within days. The PSO had close contact with the President’s Office assistant director who tested positive on Sept. 9.

U Zaw Htay, who is senior to the infected assistant director, also underwent two COVID-19 tests but tested negative.

The infected assistant director does not normally engage with President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Both are in good health and at work, said U Zaw Htay on Friday.

The wife of the assistant director also tested COVID-19 positive.

As of Monday, Myanmar has 3,015 COVID-19 cases with 24 deaths and 699 recoveries.

All the 39 journalists who attended the press conference on Sept.4 were tested and a female reporter tested positive.

“It is sad news but, except for her, all the other journalists tested negative. Please stay at home for 14 days,” U Zaw Htay told the journalists on Friday.

The health authorities are trying to trace and quarantine those who had contact with the female journalist.

“I would like to request all of them to stay at home. If they have unusual symptoms, like fever, contact us immediately. We will help as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Myat Wunna Soe.

Travel is restricted into Naypyitaw with ministries working on shifts to ensure physical distancing with restrictions on staff in their offices and during their leisure time.

None of Naypyitaw’s eight townships are under lockdown.

As of Monday morning, there have been at least 40 COVID-19 cases in Naypyitaw, including two doctors and other health workers.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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