Ministry of Health and Sports speeds up efforts againts 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe addresses the coordination meeting for increasing preventive measures against the 2019 novel coronavirus in hospitals across Yangon Region in Yangon yesterday. Photo: MNA
Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe addresses the coordination meeting for increasing preventive measures against the 2019 novel coronavirus in hospitals across Yangon Region in Yangon yesterday. Photo: MNA

The Union Minister for Health and Sports, Dr Myint Htwe, organized a coordination meeting for increasing preventive measures against the 2019 novel coronavirus in hospitals across Yangon Region at the University of Medicine 1, Yangon, yesterday morning.
Dr Myint Htwe said it is important to carefully monitor international travelers entering Myanmar and to respond early to suspected symptoms even if they were not present during inspection upon arrival. He said transferring patients and separating them into different rooms must be done with strict adherence to regulations.
He said it is important to cooperate on this with relevant ministries and organizations, in addition to relaying information back and forth between them. He said the discussions made at this meeting must be disseminated to all the medical superintendents across the nation.
The Union Minister said medical and public health sectors need to set up an information exchange network swiftly. He said a central committee and working committees must be formed for effective implementation and there must be synchronized coordination and collaboration between the relevant departments and officials.
Next, attendees explained the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), statements released by the World Health Organization and international health organizations, the Ministry of Health and Sport’s increased monitoring efforts at international entry/exit gates, spreading guidelines, preparations for systematic transference of suspected patients according to standard procedures, and preparing separate rooms for these patients in hospitals.
They also discussed disseminating health announcements and awareness to the public, connecting with relevant ministries, monitoring travelers from areas where the virus has spread for symptoms that emerge later so as to contain the virus from spreading, and preparations regarding medical supplies and finances. The medical superintendents and their vice superintendents then discussed the various matters.
Later in the afternoon, the Union Minister attended the notifying meeting at the Yangon Region Public Health Department which focused on facilitating cooperation between personnel from the hotel, travel and transportation sectors and private hospitals in monitoring the virus.
Speaking at the meeting, the Union Minister said if international points of entry can be effectively monitored then suspected patients and carriers of the virus can be identified earlier, and they are working hard to do so. He said recent WHO announcements the 2019 Novel Coronavirus has am incubation period of two weeks and thus, travelers who didn’t show any symptoms upon arriving in Myanmar may develop them during the incubation period.
The Union Minister said early identification, treatment and containment of the virus is critically important and is not like the noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart attacks as it is contagious and thus requires the cooperation of all relevant organizations and every citizen as well. He said the role of hotel businesses, hotel and guesthouse staff, companies and tour guides is important. He said airline passengers will only be allowed to enter Myanmar if they systematically fill out the ministry’s health declaration form and the duty to disseminate this information effectively to international airlines lies on the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The Union Minister said international travelers have to fill in the address of their hotel or residence during their visit to Myanmar in the health declaration form. He said the staff at these residences should swiftly contact the designated health departments if their guests display symptoms of the virus and hospitals need to respond quickly as well.
The Union Minister instructed that vinyls and posters showing how to spot virus symptoms should be supplied to hotels and guesthouses immediately and private hospitals that accepts patients suspected of 2019 novel coronavirus should strictly follow rules and regulations and contact designated hospitals quickly.
He said a 24-hour hot line will be set up so that citizens can contact their township health departments for suspected cases of the virus. He said stickers showing how to identify symptoms will also be put up on public buses and asked officials to cooperate on this matter.
The Union Minister said the cooperation of hotel staff, tour guides, the general public and travelers in the early stages will greatly help prevention and containment of the virus. He said WHO and international health groups are continuing to study the natural history of the disease.
He said that while WHO has not declared the situation one of international public health concern, they have advised containment and eradication of the disease to be sped up and the ministry has planned to do so. He said the public can view authentic news on the subject on the internet pages of WHO, US CDC, international health ministries and China’s official websites.
The Union Minister advised the public to compare news sources with reliable sources and think rationally. He said the ministry will cooperate with China and the rest of the world to monitor and contain the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and urged everyone to assist as well.
Next, Director Dr Tun Tin of the Central Epidemiology Unit explained preparations put in place for monitoring and responding to the virus and the latest news from WHO, while Director Dr Than Naing Soe explained the processes to disseminate information on disease protection and spreading to the public.
Attendees then raised questions and public health officials and lab technicians answered to them.— MNA
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

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