Myanmar & COVID-19

Myanmar’s First COVID-19 Patient Recovers, Leaves Hospital

By Zarni Mann 30 April 2020

MANDALAY—Myanmar’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient was discharged from hospital in Tedim Township, Chin State, on Wednesday after testing negative for the coronavirus three times.

The 36-year-old man returned from the US to hold his wedding in Tedim. However, he tested positive on March 23 and was admitted to Tedim General Hospital.

“All three [follow-up] tests were negative, and he showed no signs of COVID-19, so the health-care team discharged him from the hospital. However, he will have to stay quarantined at a hotel,” said U Soe Htet, Chin State’s municipal minister.

The man will have to complete another 14 days of quarantine at a hotel in Tedim as a further precautionary measure.

His mother and three others who had contact with him tested positive and remain at Tedim General Hospital in stable condition.

Keptel Village in Tedim Township, where the man, referred to as Case 1, held pre-wedding prayer services before being hospitalized, has been in lockdown since March 23.

Currently, local authorities are seeking advice from Union-level officials on when to ease the lockdown in Keptel Village.

“We hope the lockdown will be lifted very soon. The [state government] ministers are preparing to impose social distancing and community [quarantine] restrictions on those who had contact with the positive cases in the village,” said Pu Do Za Tuang, the village administrator.

He said the village would soon face a food shortage if the lockdown continues, adding that locals want the authorities to end it.

“If the lockdown is extended, our village will need urgent food supplies, because the food that was distributed is gone. We are also afraid we will face a food shortage next year, because no one has been able to go out to take care of the crops. Now, the rain has started and most of our crops are being destroyed because we have been unable to tend to them due to the lockdown,” he added.

According to the Chin State municipal minister, the decision on whether to extend or withdraw the lockdown, or to impose community restrictions, will be made in accordance with guidelines and instructions issued by the Union government.

The quarantine restrictions on the homes of people in Tedim who had contact with Case 1 would remain in place.

Chin State has recorded six COVID-19 cases, including Case 1 and the four cases related to him who are currently being treating at Tedim General Hospital. The sixth case, Case 150, was first reported in Hakha. The man is now at Hakha General Hospital.

Community quarantine restrictions were imposed on the homes of Case 150 and one person who had contact with him.

According to the Ministry of Health and Sports, as of Thursday Myanmar has 150 confirmed cases. Six people have died and 27 have recovered, of whom 16 have been discharged from hospital.

According to figures from the MOHS, as of April 26, swabs from nearly 7,000 suspects had been tested at two of its laboratories, the National Health Lab and the laboratory of the Department of Medical Research.

Currently, Mandalay is also preparing a lab to test swabs for COVID-19. It is due to begin operating at the end of May.

According to Mandalay Region Shan Ethnic Affairs Minister U Sai Pan Sai, the equipment needed for the lab was provided by a donor. The lab already has sufficient reagents to prepare swabs for 2,000 COVID-19 tests once the lab is ready.

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