Coronavirus cases surge in coup-hit Myanmar, vaccinations lag

Jun 30 , 2021. 20 hours ago – 13:41 KYODO NEWS

YANGON – The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus is increasing rapidly in Myanmar, where the military took full control in a coup almost five months ago.

Many medical workers sympathizing with the “civil disobedience movement” launched since the coup have abandoned their duties, and the coronavirus testing system has collapsed.

Distrust of military affairs extends to the quality control of COVID-19 vaccines, and many people have refused to get inoculated.

State-run media reported that the presence of three mutant strains of the coronavirus have been detected, including the Delta strain from India, and the junta has yet to come up with effective measures.

New daily confirmed cases remained in the double-digits or less following the February coup until the end of May. But they surged in June, reaching a high of 1,225, from 6,586 tests, on Monday.

As of Monday, there have been a total of 154,385 confirmed cases so far in Myanmar, with 3,309 deaths.

The number of tests decreased from nearly 20,000 a day before the coup to about 1,000 after the coup, though it recovered to between 3,000 and 7,000 in the latter half of this month.

The junta is proceeding with the expansion of isolation facilities and dedicated hospital wards. It is also encouraging medical staff to return to work and promoting vaccinations procured from India and China.

However, a 71-year-old local man refused to get vaccinated, saying, “I hear that the military’s quality control is inadequate. I don’t want to get injected with anything that I can’t trust.”

Another man, 62, said, “I can’t accept vaccinations under the military. I refuse and resist.”

A 55-year-old woman who got the vaccine said she did so “because (ousted leader) Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration prepared it for the people.”

A man in his 40s was also in favor of vaccination, saying, “This is a health issue, not one of supporting the military council or not. I want to resist it in a different way.”