Only when infection rate actually declines can health restrictions be eased: Senior General

Officials at different levels need to supervise necessary medical examination and protection for returnees from foreign countries in order to plummet the infection rate of COVID-19 in border areas as well as the whole country, said Chairman of the State Administration Council Prime Minister of the Provisional Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at the 10th coordination meeting of COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment activities at Bayintnaung Villa in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
In his opening address, the Senior General stressed that the infection rate of COVID-19 accounted for 40.82 per cent on 23 July and 40.07 per cent on 25 July. Efforts were made to decline a half down of the infection rate in August for the first stage. On 29 August, 3,166 persons of 29,127 persons were approved as the positive patients in medical examination, accounting for just 10.87 per cent. It was satisfactory for plunging the infection rate into less than 20 per cent the government expected. Such success was based on the cooperation of the people and management of organizations.
Local ethnic people from Kachin, Shan, Kayin and Mon states and Taninthayi Region who did not present reports to authorities about their return to home from China, Laos and Thailand were infected in their native lands. Officials at different levels need to supervise necessary medical examinations and protection for the returnees from foreign countries in order to plunge the infection rate of COVID-19 in border areas as well as the whole country.


The Senior General stressed the need for chief ministers in regions and states to encourage the farming tasks of the people. Successful agricultural tasks can produce agricultural products for enabling the people to have a better process of food supplies and increased income, contributing much to the battling the COVID-19.

With regard to the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and the vaccination process, the Senior General said: “A total of 6.5 million units of vaccine have arrived in Myanmar from China till yesterday. Of them, 2.5 million units were donated and we bought 4 million units, totalling 6.5 million units. India donated 1.7 million units of vaccine and we bought 2 million units. So vaccine units totalled 10.2million units. I ordered the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Defence to transport these vaccines which arrived yesterday to regions and states as quickly as possible, depending on the climatic conditions. Primarily, when the vaccines arrive, regions and states need to hand over them to townships and grassroots levels under the management of the region and state governments. If you need heavy machinery, give requests to us. We’d like to arrange the distribution of vaccines in real-time. I’d like to note that one day earlier vaccination will benefit the people better. According to the statements of global countries, vaccinated persons have better immunity than non-vaccinated persons. It is not totally said that vaccinated persons will never be infected. But they have lesser potential for suffering from the disease. Otherwise, they may suffer from the least impact of the disease. For example, even severe diseases may affect them with lesser impacts. They will have more convenience with oxygen and medicine supplies.”
Not only China and India but other friendship countries Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam donated COVID-19 vaccines to Myanmar. ASEAN pledged to send the medical supplies to Myanmar soon. As oxygen supply plays a crucial role in treatment, efforts were made to ensure the sufficiency of oxygen in regions and states. Officials need to share knowledge with the people for avoiding the loss of lives in the unsystematic use of oxygen. Hence, it is necessary to manage the availability of oxygen as well as other medical supplies in all parts of regions and states. Public healthcare services need to consider the long-term preparations to meet international standards.
Due to restrictions in the outbreak of COVID-19, prices of goods were high due to the increased production costs but dangerous situation on shortages of foods will not happen in Myanmar. As such, it is necessary to manage the better process of food supplies for the people in regions and states.
The Senior General stressed the need for chief ministers in regions and states to encourage the farming tasks of the people. Successful agricultural tasks can produce agricultural products for enabling the people to have a better process of food supplies and increased income, contributing much to battling the COVID-19.
Then, the meeting participants discussed implementation of home-at-stay programme in some townships with high rate of infected patients and easing the restrictions in some townships with declining the infection rate, systematically medical examination for those who returned from foreign countries via border gates and preventive measures against infection of variant virus of the disease, arrangements for arrival of about 10 million units of vaccines in September and October, health care for infected health staff and provision of aid for them, creation of contacts with ASEAN countries, neighbouring countries and international community to donate COVID-19 vaccines, related medicines and accessories, vaccination to people from border areas, daily requirement of oxygen, undertaking of spot check in 53 townships at high infection rate among 129 stay-at-home townships, findings of actual infection rate—2,071 infected persons among 6,292 persons on 27 August at 17 per cent, 1,478 infected persons of 17,930 people on 28 August at 8.24 per cent and 1,764 infected one of 3,507 people on 29 August at 5.44 per cent, running of domestic flight, water transport, vehicles and trains, import of anti-COVID-19 medical devices and accessories, sending of telephone message on health awareness, broadcasting of information and educative programmes on prevention, control and treatment activities for COVID-19, distribution of masks, hand gel and disposable needles from Tatmadaw factories and workshops, supply of household medicines from State-owned and private pharmaceutical factories, vaccination, control and treatment of the disease on WHO website, and sales of medicines from pharmacy shops across the nation, vaccination at IDP camps.

In his response to the reports, the Senior General said that relevant ministries need to bring back Myanmar citizens from Malaysia by relief flight. It is necessary to supervise the vaccination process with the use of a newly-arrived vaccine at one unit for five doses. Research and tests must be conducted for the production of the COVID-19 vaccine. Relevant departments need to cooperate among them in the prevention of malpractice in the import of medicines under the FDA approval, and import-substitute foodstuffs must be sold at fair prices to the people.
In his concluding speech related to sales of basic medicines at fair prices and vaccination process, the Senior General said: “Myanmar Chamber of Commerce for Pharmaceutical & Medical Device (MCCPMD) and some companies directly sell the medicines. Pharmacy shops are allotted at a site to sell the medicines in Yangon. Price list of important medicines is expressed in daily newspapers. So, people are convenient to some extent in buying the medicines. So, I thank the association for its arrangement. Those from the association arrange the sales of medicines with goodwill for the people, rather than their interests. Everybody wishes to do business for having benefit. But the association focuses on sales of medicines at correct prices to the people without focusing on the benefit. They do it with goodwill. So, I thank them for their efforts.
It was reported that infection of the disease declines. We check the figure of infection, the number of people under medical examination and infection percentage. It is because it is necessary to take care not of leaving the fields. Such a process was included in the discussions of the Union Minister for Health. They are contact persons and some of the persons who were related to the patients. Some of them return home. So, I have told it earlier. For example, some people return to their villages in regions and states without reporting to the authorities. When the infection rate was higher, findings of medical examination showed that some of the people did not report to the authorities for their returning and officials did not check them. So, it is necessary to closely supervise inspection tasks. It is important that inspection arenas should not be left. Only when we know the correct results from medical checkups, will the control of the disease be benefited. So, we need to check many persons.”

Health staff need to have patience in performing medical checkups on people in a systematic matter. Health awareness must be raised to avoid careless travelling as the current variant virus causes high and speedy infection with a high death rate. Symptoms of the disease must be disseminated to the people. Only when the infection rate actually declines can the health restrictions be eased. At present, factories and workplaces are allowed to systematically operate production under the disciplines. The infection of the disease must be monitored to ease the health restrictions. Not only the Tatmadaw and Myanmar Police Force but the people must carry out the security of the health staff. As oxygen can be produced at home, it is necessary to import oxygen as a reserve if necessary. —MNA


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