Covid-19 situation and National measurements to prevent, control and treatment of Corona virus disease in Myanmar
Since early January 2020, Myanmar government is providing the awareness about Covid-19 virus to the public and raising the awareness on self-protection. Myanmar constituted the Committee for preventing, controlling and treating pneumonia caused by Covid-19 virus on 30 January 2020. Then, it was reconstituted in an upgraded level as a national-level Central Committee on March 13, which led by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. The central committee follows the guidelines of WHO to prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus and to provide medical care services to the patients. Hence, major hospitals prepared the intensive care units for Covid-19 patients and provided training to health care workers.
Moreover, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi activated her dormant Facebook account on 1st April to raise the public awareness of stay home, social distancing, wearing mask and washing hand properly.
It is also often the Facebook broadcast of a live video where she hosts and discus state and regional health officials, the patients, as well as the people on front line across the country to know about the important needs of those who are trying to overcome the Covid-19 challenges.
Then State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi launched a homemade cotton mask campaign with prizes on her Facebook page to encourage people to use environmentally-friendly face masks that are washable. Everyone can also participate in this mask competition that aims at people to cooperate by wearing masks.
23 March’20, the very first two confirmed cases of Covid-19 were found on those who returned from USA and UK.
Once one was found positive for Convid-19, the infected person has to be hospitalized at specific hospital immediately and this affected area/apartment/building was locked down according to its standard operation procedures.
Medical checkup teams are controlling at all entries to Myanmar. Everyone coming into Myanmar by air or by land through border points are required to quarantine for 21 days either at facility quarantine centers for free of charges or at hotels with specific prices.
Meditation centers, Mosques, Churches and Schools are transformed as Quarantine centers and provide all facilities without charges. Local Volunteers and health workers involve working in quarantine centers. The state, well-wishers and volunteers provide the food supply to the families of locked down areas and also to the under privileged families.
The government has instituted widespread closures of public events, entertainment venues and religious institutions and encouraged people to stay at home. The most visited Pagodas, Temples and Museums in major cities are closed to the public since 28 March. Moreover, the most festive Myanmar New Year festival due on 12-17 April was banned to celebrate.
Ministry of Health and Sports issued an order banning the gathering of five or more people. Those who fail to comply with the order will be subject to action under the Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases Law.
Due to Convid-19, most of private clinics in wards were temporarily closed and patients were fearful of going to a hospital. However, Community fever clinics are arranged for public health care services.
On April 2, non-essential business has to close but markets are still opened. And restaurants are opened by providing only take away and delivery system. In some cities, Markets are opened with best practice of crowd management. Officials arranged an open-air market on a road by painting lines to keep each seller 2 meters apart. The main aim is to maintain the usual trade flow and to keep safe distance among vendors and buyers as well.
On April 8, Highway bus terminal in Yangon stops services to other cities. Buses and other public transportation vehicles carrying more than 7 people except truck transporting essential goods and supplies are temporarily banned from using the regions’ highways.
All airlines operating international/national air services of Myanmar are temporarily suspended until 30 May and it may extend later. However, special recovery relief flights are operated with special protection condition. And all crews and passengers are required to quarantine for 21 days on their arrival to Myanmar.
Myanmar Government temporarily suspended all type of visa applications to Myanmar and also suspended the entry of foreign nationals through any border checkpoints. Myanmar citizen are permitted to enter through border checkpoints and they are subject to health check and temperature screening by medical team at the border. And they are also required to quarantine for 21 days at community quarantine centers. After that, it needs to self-quarantine at home for 7 days again.
Starting from 18 April, the night curfew imposed in all major cities and people are not allowed to go out from 10 pm to 04 Am except of an emergency need.
And The Central Institute of Civil Service, which located on the outskirt of Yangon was turned into a makeshift Covid-19 medical center.
Myanmar’s largest pharmaceutical distributer donated a Cobas 6800 M PCR medical analyzer machine to the National Covid-19 Central Committee.
University students invented a trolley robots and remote-controlled spray cleaning robots to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the hospitals. The main aim is to reduce the instances of contact between patients and medical staffs. The Education ministry donated robots to the Ministry of Health.
In most of the regions, regional government and volunteers are setting the mobile Basins and providing the mask at public areas.
On 3rd May, the government allowed to operate some businesses that have to comply the guidelines of ministry of health for prevention of virus spreading.
On 14th May, government reduced at night-time curfew by 2 hr for all states and regions to 12am to 4 am. It will ease some restrictions in four townships in Yangon and one township in Sagaing division as no new cases have been reported in 20 days. And all businesses excluding entertainment will resume operation on May 16 in Mandalay.
According to Ministry of Health and Sports dated on 23 May 2020, there are 201 laboratory confirmed cases, 116 recovered and 6 deaths in Myanmar. Among them, Yangon is the most infected cases found (146 confirmed cases) and the rest cases are found in Mandalay city, Naypyidaw capital, Shan state, Chin state, Mon state, Kachin state, Rakhine state respectively.
Zero confirmed case found in Kayah state.
Sources: Ministry of Health and Sport / Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Myanmar Times/ The Irrawaddy News