With 216 positive cases in 13 days from 16 to 28 August, a second surge of infections struck Rakhine State, setting off alarm bells because of its faster infection rate than previous outbreak in other states and regions. Meanwhile, six people who travelled to Rakhine State recently have been found to be infected with the virus. The outbreak in Rakhine State is easy to follow. People showing no symptoms and ignoring public health protocols appear to be able to spread the novel coronavirus that has caused the outbreak in Rakhine State. The people have paid the price of this. Epidemiologists have warned that the number of cases is expected to rise in the state due to the nature of the epidemic.
The Union Government has imposed the Stay-At-Home order on Rakhine State and is tracing the contacts of the people with travel history to Rakhine State in efforts to prevent spreading the coronavirus from Rakhine State to other parts of the country. From 10 to 27 August, over 5,700 people had travel history to Rakhine State by air, and out of them, some might have been infected with the coronavirus. Therefore, those who travelled to Rakhine State after 10 August are highly encouraged to inform the nearest health department.
About 75 per cent of COVID-19 positive cases after 16 August in Rakhine State have no symptoms and no illness. Hence, we must follow the COVID-19 protocols such as wearing face masks in public and maintaining social distancing to avoid a wave of new cases Do everything possible to stop COVID-19. Every individual has a role play in the collective effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry of Health and Sports would enforce stricter policies, which might be different from previous ones due to the new nature of the virus, by taking more aggressive action to combat the disease.
Since those who have travelled to Rakhine State are now in other parts of the country, authorities are also obliged to enforce the ministry’s stricter policies and follow the ministry’s directives to prevent new outbreaks of COVID-19, especially in crowded locations, such as IDP camps and factories.
Unfortunately, a Stay-At-Home alone order cannot contain a pandemic. We must support the government by following their health protocols to ensure authorities can scale up their surveillance system and medical infrastructure. There’s only one reasonable option to pursue: Stay safe and keep others safe. And remember, no one said this pandemic would be easy to defeat.