Efforts must be made for effectively taking preventive, control and treatment measures of COVID-19 with momentum so as to carry out peace and stability tasks and construction tasks of the State to be able to reach the level of efficiently controlling the pandemic, 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 11th coordination meeting on prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19 at the Bayintnaung Villa in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
In his opening speech, the Senior General said the infection rate declines to some extent due to utmost efforts through meetings with the formation of the central level for prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19 as of July when the third wave started. The globe faces over 221 million infected persons and some 4.6 million dead persons, the United States of America more than 40 million infected persons and India 33 million. Among ASEAN countries, Indonesia was top with over four million infected persons and over 136,000 dead persons. Myanmar stands the sixth position in ASEAN countries with over 400,000 infected persons and some 15,800 deaths.
On 14 July, a total of 7,083 persons were infected among 21,352 persons who have undergone a medical examination, accounting for 33 per cent. On 22 July, 6,701 persons of 17,235 persons were infected, accounting for 38 per cent. The infection rate exceeded more than 40 per cent on some days. The central committee arranged vaccinations for the people, purchase of vaccines abroad and distribution of protective equipment across the nation.
The infection rate plunged to 10.37 per cent in early September. But some regions and states are facing a high infection rate. Over 30,000 persons have undergone medical examinations per day. In the ratio of infection, 193 infected persons per lakh were found in Kayah State with the highest rate, followed by Kachin State with 96 persons per lakh, Taninthayi Region with 84 persons per lakh, Shan State with 81 persons per lakh, Nay Pyi Taw 76 persons per lakh and Bago Region 72 persons per lakh. Some people are careless about the disease as it is breaking out for many months. They do not abide by the COVID-19 restrictions in some areas.
The government allows production processes and agriculture and livestock tasks under the COVID-19 restrictions for earning income for the State through exportation. Myanmar does not face shortages of foodstuffs as efforts are being made to produce foodstuffs. Some countries encounter high prices of foodstuffs due to a shortage of workers for the industries. Officials at different levels are to strictly supervise the COVID-19 disciplines in their regions without allowing the people for doing something by crowds.
With regard to the returning of Myanmar citizens working in neighbouring countries, the Senior General said: “Our ethnics are working in neighbouring countries. This early this month, they wished to return home. We decided to call them back and order to do so. We share the future at home instead of working abroad. The government is a shade for all as well as the country. So, I ordered them to call them back home to share the sweet future. In the past, the government did not allow their returns. In my tenure, I call them back home. So, 11,315 ethnic people returned from China starting from 5 June to date, 2,680 from Laos via Tachilek and Kengtung. When they had undergone the COVID test, 123 persons were confirmed in positive cases, accounting for 8.32 per cent. Likewise, 271 persons who returned from Thailand were found infected, accounting for 1.48 per cent. If they were abroad, I could not consider their future. Last week when they arrived back in Myanmar, some of them kissed the ground and paid homage to it. Whatever it may be, I will call back our ethnic people to Myanmar. When we arranged to bring back Myanmar citizens from Malaysia by relief flight, some Myanmar persons cheated 17 other persons. They did not afford to return home. So, I ordered them to call them back under the State budget. The virus was found in some ten persons in the medical examination yesterday. These were positive cases. Some of them were in negative cases. So, he said he would return home tomorrow by the earliest flight. He is our citizen. I urged officials to give treatment to the remaining persons. I mean our government does not abandon the citizens residing abroad. It was related to the COVID case. If they face other problems, they are invited to contact the Myanmar embassies. We will arrange for them without fail. They may come back home. It doesn’t matter even if they make problems. I have kept patience over them. We have such a concept for ethnic affairs. So, I’d like to urge respective region and state governments to systematically deal with the health issue of ethnic people under fair management with patience for them similar to their relatives. If we do everything with goodwill, we can achieve success.
The Senior General noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 is very long. It is necessary to carry out other tasks of nation-building endeavours. Efforts must be made for effectively taking preventive, control and treatment measures of COVID-19 with momentum so as to carry out peace and stability tasks and construction tasks of the State to be able to reach the level of efficiently controlling the pandemic. If so, the process leading to the vision will be smooth. As such, all are to continue their measures in a systematic manner.
Members of the State Administration Council, Union Ministers, deputy ministers, senior military officers and attendees reported on allotment of RT-PCR test machines to border gates in order to increase inspection over the returnees, plans to upgrade the ICU at hospitals, vaccination for setting the target groups comprising those from IDP camps, EAOs, disabled persons and those suffering from other diseases creation of contacts with ASEAN and dialogue partner countries to seek vaccines and medicines for COVID-19 and humanitarian aid, raising awareness for COVID-19 through daily newspapers, State-owned TV channels and radios in addition to private TV channels on findings of a variant virus of COVID-19, performing of spot checks in 66 townships in border areas in addition to 119 townships from stay at home programme, estimated production from the completed oxygen plants, and progress in conducting the research to produce vaccines with the use of traditional medicines.
The government allows production processes and agriculture and livestock tasks under the COVID-19 restrictions for earning income for the State through exportation. Myanmar does not face shortages of foodstuffs as efforts are being made to the production of foodstuffs. Some countries encounter high prices of foodstuffs due to a shortage of workers for the industries.
In his response to the reports, the Senior General pointed out that it is necessary to conduct systematic research to be able to produce vaccines for COVID-19 with the use of traditional medicines as COVID-19 will never disappear. The Senior General stressed the need to produce vaccines and medicines for the disease by researching Myanmar herbal plants. The pharmaceutical factories of the State and the Tatmadaw as well as private-owned one need to participate in the production of vaccines and medicines. Ministries need to coordinate with each other for production. A single trade post should not be set for the export of marine products, and other posts must be considered to arrange the export of products for a smooth process. As the export process is important, systematic collection of fishermen population to be systematically vaccinated.
In the concluding remarks, the Senior General said: “It is necessary to consider the long-term plans, especially for the health sector. Only when the people are wealthy, will they be longevity, work, learn and have job opportunities. If they are free from disease, job opportunities can be created and schools open. It is a great challenge for us. It is a prioritized task. So, I stressed the need to prioritize such tasks rather than other important projects. Not only ministries but the region and state governments must perform the prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19 as the top task. The Ministry of Health and the Directorate of Medical Services of the Tatmadaw become the frontline organizations. We cannot lessen anything. We must fulfil the necessary needs such as medicines and medical accessories. We must provide assistance for the health staff to dutifully do their tasks. Management and logistics measures must be taken. Not only the people but health staff must be healthy for carrying out the tasks. If so, those health staff can perform the vaccination. As such, all governments and different administrative bodies must emphasize the performance of the health organizations.”
Then, the Senior General stressed that people from rural areas and border areas have a misunderstanding over the health measures. So, it is necessary to raise health awareness for them.
The Ministry of Health is primarily performing the vaccination process. Vaccines must be systematically stored not to lessening the potency. Not only medicines related to COVID-19 but the drugs for cancer and heart diseases must be imported as quickly as possible.
Arrangements must be made for vaccinating all the people without leaving the aged and chronic patients. It is necessary to explain the possibility of infection for non-vaccinated persons. Only when the infection rate of the disease is controlled, can the government manage economic, education and other tasks. Hence, officials need to strive for declining infection rates in their areas. —MNA