Myanmar & COVID-19

Myanmar’s Free Funeral Service Founder hit by COVID-19

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 21 October 2020

Yangon – The founder of one of Myanmar’s prominent social welfare organizations, the Free Funeral Service Society (FFSS), has tested positive for coronavirus along with two other members on Wednesday after having contact with known COVID-19 patients, according to the society.

The society said its founder U Kyaw Thu, 60, an Academy Award-winning actor, and six of his colleagues had been isolating at home for five days after a male staff member tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Ko Aung Lay, supervisor of the FFSS in Yangon, told The Irrawaddy on Oct. 21 that U Kyaw Thu and two male staff members, in their 20s and 30s, tested positive.

“They all are in good health. They have no COVID-19 symptoms,” said Ko Aung Lay.

The society in Yangon’s North Dagon Township is helping in Yangon’s fight against COVID-19 by transporting around 50 people with coronavirus per day from their homes to quarantine centers or COVID-19 hospitals.

The FFSS was founded in 2001 mainly to assist poor families amid rising funeral costs.

Under the military government until 2010, the society faced regular oppression by the authorities due to its popularity and support at home and abroad.

The society arranges free funeral services and medical treatment for the poor.

It is planning to send U Kyaw Thu and his two colleagues to a COVID-19 hospital.

Myanmar has been experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 since Aug. 16, when the country’s first domestic transmission in a month was detected in the Rakhine State capital, Sittwe.

Since Aug.16, Myanmar has reported 38,128 COVID-19 cases and 939 deaths, compared with 374 cases and six deaths from March 23 to Aug. 16.

On Wednesday morning, Myanmar reported 38,502 COVID-19 cases, including 945 fatalities and 18,147 recoveries.

Cases have been reported in more than 200 townships across 15 regions and states.

On Wednesday noon, Myanmar’s COVID-19 hotspot, Yangon, reported 31,148 COVID-19 cases, followed by Rakhine State with 2,625 cases.

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