Myanmar & COVID-19

Myanmar Sets Another Daily COVID-19 Record With 107 New Cases

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 1 September 2020

YANGON—Myanmar reported 107 new cases of COVID-19 in five states and regions on Monday—the largest daily jump in cases since the disease was first detected in the country five months ago.

The previous largest jump in Myanmar’s official COVID-19 tally was 100, reported in just 12 hours overnight from Aug. 25 to 26.

As of Tuesday morning, the Southeast Asian country had 887 COVID-19 cases including six deaths.

Myanmar initially appeared to have the virus under control, reporting a total of 400 cases in a nearly five-month period from March 23, when the first case was detected. However, the total climbed to 800 in just 12 days from Aug. 21.

The Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) reported 12 locally transmitted cases on Monday morning, and another 95 COVID-19 cases that evening. Rakhine State, which has been the epicenter of Myanmar’s COVID-19 epidemic since last month, accounted for 60 of the 107 new patients. Five more patients were reported on Tuesday morning.

According to details released by health officials, the cases reported on Monday were detected in Rakhine State’s Kyaukphyu, Kyauktaw, Taungup, Maungdaw, Myebon, Rathedaung and Ponnagyun townships and the state capital Sittwe; Yangon Region’s Mingaladon, Insein, Thingangyun, Thaketa, Mingalar Taung Nyunt, Kyauktada, Pazundaung, Dagon, Botahtaung, Hlaingtharyar, North Dagon, South Okkalapa and Mayangone townships; and in Bago, Mandalay and Magwe regions. The MOHS said two of the cases were imported, involving people who had traveled to Bangladesh and Russia.

On Aug. 16, Myanmar reported its first local transmission in a month, a 26-year-old female bank employee in the Rakhine State capital, Sittwe, who had no overseas travel history and no recorded contact with any known COVID-19 patients. Prior to that, Myanmar’s previous local transmission was reported on July 16.

Between Aug. 16 and Sept. 1, Rakhine State saw 395 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and one imported case.

Due to the spike of cases in the country, since Aug. 26 Myanmar has imposed a partial lockdown in Rakhine State, instructing its more than 3 million residents to stay at home.

Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has also pledged to provide sufficient food supplies and financial support to meet the state’s needs.

In an effort to curb the outbreak, the Myanmar government has ordered people who have traveled to Rakhine State since Aug. 10—including more than 5,300 people known to have traveled from Rakhine to Yangon by air since that date—to report to the nearest health-care department or their local administrators to be tested for COVID-19.

Of the known air passengers, about 4,000 have yet to report to authorities, according to the MOHS.

The ministry said on Sunday it is considering placing family members of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Sittwe under strict home quarantine, instead of sending them to government quarantine centers, due to a shortage of such facilities in the city.

It also said it is considering buying mobile hospital units to help fight the outbreak in Rakhine State.

An MOHS spokesperson could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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