Myanmar Faces COVID-19 Spike as Junta Prepares Ceremonies

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News Desk

Myanmar faces its sharpest spike in COVID-19 infections since December last year with more than 1,000 new cases reported as the junta has failed to prevent the spread of the virus.

A total of 1,145 confirmed cases were reported on Tuesday (8th February) night. Myanmar has been in chaos since the last year’s coup. The junta-controlled Ministry of Heath stated that no new COVID-19 deaths were reported in the past 16 days.

Myanmar has seen clusters of infections, with more than 100 trainees at the Central Institute of the Civil Service in Phaunggyi, more than 700 workers at the Mingaladon Industrial Zone Lens Factory and around 40 monks and nuns at Jivitadana Sangha Hospital in Yangon were found infected, including confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.

The country confirmed its first Omicron cases on Dec. 28. According to the junta’s health ministry since then, several townships in Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Bago, Mandalay and Sagaing regions and Shan State have reported COVID-19 cases. Many more cases are suspected to be going unreported as people isolate themselves at home.

The junta continues to insist that normality is returning and is busy organizing mass gatherings nationwide including the 75th anniversary of Union Day, raising fears that will cause additional infections.

It gathered people across the country at a sports training center in Naypyitaw to practice performances for the Union Day ceremony.

On Tuesday, it staged a flag relay involving large crowds carrying a flag from Yangon City Hall to Naypyitaw as part of the celebrations.

Myanmar experienced a devastating wave of COVID-19 after the military regime relaxed restrictions following the February coup to demonstrate that the country was back to normal. With the public healthcare system in chaos following the military takeover, the last coronavirus outbreak saw daily record death tolls.

In March 2020 the virus was first detected in Myanmar under the ousted civilian government and resulted in far fewer fatalities as the healthcare system was functioning and adequate drugs and care could be provided to patients.

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