Myanmar COVID-19 News: Yangon Goes Into Lockdown. Flights And Travel Banned. Thais Urge Harsher Penalties On Border Sneakers Into Thailand
Myanmar COVID-19 News
: Authorities in Myanmar on Friday announced its toughest measures so far to control the spread of the coronavirus, banning travel out of the country's biggest city, Yangon, and grounding all domestic flights. The city is experiencing a huge surge cases and hospital are overflowing with test kits being scarce.
Travel in and out of the city by other transport systems have also been banned and measures, announced just hours before taking effect, will be in place until Oct. 1.
The upsurge in coronavirus cases began in August in the western state of Rakhine that is full of muslim rohingyas and has since spread to other parts of the country. Until the latest outbreak, Myanmar appeared to have largely been spared from the pandemic. It is believed that most of the COVID-19 infections were brought back from Bangladesh by the muslim rohingyas.
Authorities had already ordered partial lockdowns in 29 of Yangon's 44 townships, including 20 on Thursday. New roadblocks were set up Friday in parts of the city, with some smaller streets closed while main roads remained open. As the country's commercial capital, Yangon is a transportation hub and transit point.
The country's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi told media, "Some might think that these rules and regulations are too restrictive. However, if we all obeyed these restrictions strictly for two or three weeks, we can arrive at a situation when this disease would be under control."
The Myanmar health ministry on Friday announced 115 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 2,265, including 14 dead. The Yangon regional government said the number of locally transmitted cases there from Aug. 24 to Tuesday totaled 656.
However many local doctors say that the number of infections could be in tens of thousands as there is a shortage of test kits and many locals are not coming in to hospitals or clinics when they are sick.
Already stay-at-home orders issued for parts of Yangon this month, and for all of Rakhine state in August, call for partial lockdowns, with limited trips such as those for food.
The ban on domestic flights follows attempts to trace the thousands of people who have flown from Rakhine since Aug. 10 but only about half of whom had reported themselves to authorities. In an unusual move to track them down, the names of the errant travelers were published in newspapers.
In a public speech, Suu Kyi warned of the seriousness of the situation, pointing out that the rate of both infections and deaths was faster than in March and April when the disease first hit Myanmar.
She added, "The other thing I have noticed is that among some of those infected, some are teenagers. That is why we should deeply understand that COVID does not discriminate whether you are old or young, or whether you have underlying health problems or not."
Meanwhile in Thailand despite the army and border authorities being on high alert, Thailand’s porous borders is still not deterring many illegal Myanmar nationals from crossing in or sneaking in illegally to find work and many do not even care if they are having the coronavirus and or that they might spread it a
round to anyone else.
Thailand local laws are extremely lenient and do not serve as a deterrent to these border sneakers.
Many local Thais are urging the government to review current penalties and to introduce laws similar to Singapore where besides fines, illegal immigrants are caned by the ‘Rotan’ and also to impose similar penalties to Thais that employ them.
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