Yangon’s crowd gets larger with greater awareness of second wave

30 July 2020

As there have been no locally transmitted cases in Myanmar for a long time, the government has announced to re-open public places like restaurants and schools along with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports. Yangon’s crowd is gradually getting larger at those public areas for social and economic reasons.

The pagodas in Yangon downtown area, which has been closed since March due to the prevention processes of Covid-19, is also about to re-open on 30th July along with the health guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Union Minister Dr. Myint Htwe urged the people to stay alert with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports to wash hands for 20 seconds and to shield faces, ears, and eyes which are the mostly virus infected areas. The virus can stay inside the infected body from two to 14 days, People should be also aware of the asymptomatic infections as 60% out of all the reported Covid-19 positive cases  are asymptomatic according to a quick-and-dirty analysis of Covid-19 by the Ministry of Health and Sports.  The government is able to test only the returnees abroad and close-contact persons with the positive patients, so, the existence of the asymptomatic patients can bring danger to the residents.

U Wai Phyo Han, Region Hluttaw representative from Insein township said, “As the government high schools have reopened, we are now focusing on the donation of the masks, thermometers and soaps. Other processes are back to almost normal situation and no more specific changes have occurred. As there are no local transmissions, people don’t want to wear face masks. We don’t know if there are asymptomatic patients or not. People need to protect themselves. Their families will suffer first and the public later. I want to suggest if someone is found out odd in their body, they should to go to the nearest medical centres.”

Yangon has the highest rate of infection for Covid-19 together with the dense population. People need to have self-protection to prevent the second wave infection. People substituted reusable face cloth masks which are much more affordable for the grass roots of the local residents instead of surgical masks in the initial period of Covid-19 outbreak. Now the price of surgical masks has gown down and even some people don’t wear masks properly and some wear under chin only.

Dr. Si Thu Lin, a specialist from Yangon Workers’ Hospital told MI Radio about the self-protection that each resident should have when going to crowded places, “Self-protection is needed not only for Covid-19 disease, for example, we can protect ourselves from any other diseases like seasonal influenza by wearing masks. The infection possibility is high especially in closed spaces, which are not airy, like cinemas, offices, public buses, and schools. When we touch the masks with our hand and we touch our mouth, nose and eyes with the same hand, we might get infected. Masks should be disposed systematically to prevent the spread of the virus. I see masks scattered on the ground and in that way the virus is distributed. Hand-washing is also necessary. Washing hands with water and soap is the most suitable method and if there are no hand-wash basins, we can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.”

Out of all 351 Covid-19 positive patients in Myanmar, only 20 people are under ICU care and five people are put on ventilators.

Ma Amy Kyaw, the resident from Thingangyun township said, “I often wear masks, wash hands, and wash clothes every time I come back from outside. We have to use public transportation to go to our works, so, it’s impossible to follow the social-distancing rules sometimes. When the Covid-19 outbreak occurs, I don’t go back to my hometown because my parents are over 60 years old and I don’t want the infection to spread just by going back. There are too many crowds in market areas, and people don’t wear masks so, I’m afraid of the second wave infection.”

Myanmar has 351 reported cases with 293 recoveries with six deaths according to the data from the Ministry of Health and Sports.

All around the world, there are more than 16 million Covid-19 confirmed cases and more than 650,000 died from the disease. In Myanmar, 351 people tested positive among more than 110,000 laboratory tests which are performed by the Ministry of Health and Sports until July 29. 

Soe Yadana