Myanmar & COVID-19

Myanmar Policeman Catches COVID-19 After Rohingya Arrest

By Salai Thant Zin 8 September 2020

Pathein, Ayeyarwady Region—A policeman who transported Rohingya detainees to a quarantine center in late August in Ayeyarwady Region has tested positive for coronavirus.

Myanmar’s navy on Aug. 27 detained 42 undocumented Rohingya from northern Rakhine State at the estuary in Mawlamyinegyun Township, Ayeyarwady Region.

The group consisted of 11 men, 29 women and two children. Their nasal swabs were tested for COVID-19 at the National Laboratory in Yangon and a 21-year-old detainee tested positive.

The man was taken to the Waibargi Infectious Disease Hospital in Yangon and the Ayeyarwady regional government kept the others in isolation in a makeshift quarantine center in Kyangin Township on the Rakhine-Ayeyarwady border. It sent them back to Maungdaw in Rakhine State on Sept. 1.

Ayeyarwady police transported the group from Mawlamyinegyun to Kyangin and provided security at the quarantine center. A 43-year-old corporal providing security at the center tested positive for the virus, according to the police.

“He is one of the policemen who provided security for the undocumented people from Rakhine at the temporary quarantine center. He was sent to Hinthada District Hospital on Monday and we have also provided assistance for his family,” Ayeyarwady police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Tun Shwe told The Irrawaddy.

Twenty-five police officers who participated in arresting and providing security for the Rohingyas are being kept in quarantine at a disaster management training school in Hinthada.

As of Sept. 7, there have been four COVID-19 cases in Ayeyarwady Region. Three of the most recent cases were tested while they were in quarantine and are now at Pathein Hospital.

“We are treating those infected and holding all those who came into contact with them at quarantine centers. And we are planning to issue further orders to control the spread,” said Ayeyarwady regional minister for electricity, industry and transport U Win Htay.

The regional government has imposed strict checks on those entering Ayeyarwady Region at all the entry points, including in Nyaungdon, Maubin, Dedaye, Kyangin and Pathein townships.

The regional government says residents returning from townships in Rakhine State and Yangon Region where the government has issued stay-at-home orders will have to spend 21 days in quarantine: 14 days at quarantine sites and seven days in their homes.

More than 200 who have returned to Ayeyarwady Region are currently being held at quarantine centers.

As of Tuesday morning, Myanmar has reported 1,610 COVID-19 cases with 388 recoveries and eight deaths.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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