Myanmar & COVID-19

Suu Kyi Pledges More Than $758m Fund to Myanmar’s COVID-19 Battle

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 22 September 2020

Yangon – Myanmar’s State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has promised more than 1,000 billion kyats (US$758 million) to fight COVID-19.

Currently, the country is fifth in Asean in terms of COVID-19 cases after overtaking Thailand, which has reported more than 3,500 cases.

It is behind the Philippines, which has more than 290,000 COVID-19 cases, Indonesia with more than 249,000 cases, Singapore with more than 57,000 cases and Malaysia with more than 10,276.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said in her televised speech on Monday evening that the government has allocated more than 1,000 billion kyats of general surplus finance to the natural disaster management fund for the battle against coronavirus.

The fund will be used in a recovery plan for impacted sectors, the State Counselor added.

She said: “We want people to know that we have prepared as much as we can. And we don’t want people to get too worried. I ask people not to be careless because we have to struggle more.”

The State Counselor said the government is preparing to get any future COVID-19 vaccine or medicine by connecting to the countries which are working on producing coronavirus medicines.

Myanmar is reporting around 500 to 600 new COVID-19 cases per day. Cases began to rise after Aug. 16, when the country’s first domestic transmission in a month was detected in the Rakhine State capital, Sittwe.

About 350 COVID-19 patients are being treated at the tented temporary hospitals with 400 beds at Yangon’s Thuwunna football stadium.

On Tuesday morning, 6,471 COVID-19 cases, including 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, had been reported in Myanmar.

Cases have been reported in 193 townships across 14 states and regions with only Kayah State reporting no coronavirus cases.

Yangon Region is the center of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, reporting around 500 cases per day. On Monday morning, Yangon reported 3,973 COVID-19 cases, while the country’s second hardest-hit state or region, Rakhine, was reporting 966 cases.

All residents of Yangon Region, except for the islands of Cocokyun Township, have been ordered to stay at home.

Garment factories in the city are also instructed to close from Sept. 24 to Oct. 7. Other businesses and organizations have been ordered to work from home.

Professor Zaw Wai Soe, vice-chairman of the Yangon coordinating COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment committee, told the Skynet Up-To-Date channel on Monday that they had to expand the restrictions in Yangon to control the spread of the virus.

He said they would handle the distribution of medical treatment and take care of COVID-19 patients if they managed to control the spread of the virus in the city.

He said 400 medical students and tutors were helping to trace people who had been in contact with known COVID-19 patients.

Professor Zaw Wai Soe said the committee is preparing about 2,500 more temporary hospital beds and township hospitals were being prepared to treat COVID-19 patients if needed.

“Prevention is the main way to beat COVID-19 in Yangon. People’s prevention is the main aim,” said Professor Zaw Wai Soe.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also urged Yangon residents to take care of themselves and to follow the COVID-19 preventative guidelines.

“Our COVID-19 control operation will succeed more quickly if individuals take care of themselves and follows the preventative guidelines,” she said.

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