01 July 2020
It has been three months since the first confirmed cases of Covid-19 were found in Myanmar by the late March. With the relaxation of restrictions, and because of the calm situation of local transmission, people tend to get bored with staying in restricted lifestyle and they become more careless. Taking examples from other countries, after controlling the virus spread, they are again facing the second wave locally. Therefore, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is also serving as the Chairperson of the National Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of Covid-19, repeatedly reminds the public to be aware of the possible second wave of the virus spread.
The State Counsellor hosted the video conferencing, to raise public awareness during current situation of people being incautious, with the participants Dr. Thandar Lwin, Deputy Director General (Disease Control) of Department of Public Health of the Ministry of Health and Sports, Dr. Myint Myint Aye, medical superintendent of Yangon General Hospital, and Dr. Cho Cho San Htoo, Specialist (Medicine) from Hpa-an General Hospital.
“Our success in control activity is because of the early actions taken. Myanmar is one of the countries which released early guidelines. Since 4th of January, we did carry the necessary preparedness for the Covid-19, when other countries did not take much serious. At present, for weeks, there have been no transmissions among local residents. When receiving overseas returnees, the fact we have to notice is that Covid-19 has different mutations in different regions. Most of the patients in our country are asymptomatic. So, self-awareness is critical,” said the State Counsellor.
As an effort to control and prevent the spread of the virus, the ban on local and foreign travel, control on overseas returnees, contact tracing and giving treatment to suspected cases, laboratory upgrade, establishment of quarantine centers, stay-at-home plans, closures of factories, restaurants, schools, ban on festivities and mass gatherings, and distribution of protective items were implemented. After three months of outbreak in Myanmar, there are 299 patients with 221 recoveries, and 6 deaths until the end of June. This is quite lower than the expected cases.
“When the first confirmed cases were found locally, the citizens were frightened and followed the health guidelines by the ministry. But now, the local transmission is down, even the increasing number is not that high, and the death rate is only 2%. So, along with the erasing of the restrictions, some are careless. Because of the closures for months, the businesses are running again for the recovery. This is not the time to relax and be careless. If we look at the other countries, the new outbreak can happen at any time. So, I want to suggest the public not to be reckless,” said Dr. Thandar Lwin.
With the slow increase of the positive cases, the number of patients under investigation (PUI) also becomes lesser in number. In Yangon General Hospital, in April and May, there were about 100 PUIs every day getting treatment with the rate of 25 to 30 new PUIs coming in. Out of 1,147 PUIs from Yangon General Hospital, 11 cases showed positive.
“Because of the quarantine system as well as the stay-at-home plans in respective townships imposed in April and May, there are only 2 or 3 new PUI patients coming every day at present. More patients suffering from other diseases or accidents are coming back to hospitalization. There will be much more patients of vehicle accidents because many people and vehicles are going outside as normal. If the Covid-19 cases are rising again because of the weakness in following health guidelines, we will have difficulties to give proper and specific treatment,” said Dr. Myint Myint Aye.
In border areas, the designated hospitals are upgraded and volunteers are helping out in quarantine centers where receiving returnees. Out of total overseas returnees tested for Covid-19, 0.2% showed positives.
“We have taken early steps in prevention and are in good condition now. But if we stay careless right now, all the efforts we have taken in the past will be a waste. It is such pity to let all human resources and physical resources we have used to be in vain. I also do not want my citizens to feel over-frightened. They need to have cautiousness in daily life, which are not much burdened,” said the State Counsellor.
The State Counsellor mentioned that to have more positive patient is the struggle for the country, for the patients as well as for the surrounding. She told the public to endure two or three more months for the emergence of a situation better than the present. She also acknowledged the voluntary spirit of the youths and Union spirit of the people.
Thaw Tar Swe Zin
Photo Credit - Ministry of Health and Sports Myanmar