The COVID infection figure in Myanmar is now over 14,300. The number of deaths is now over 300. Just as I said last week, because we have started using Test Kits which can give us quick results, we are finding more positive cases at a faster pace. Why is this; this is because the testing is quick. In the beginning, we will see more positive cases. Later, we hope this rate will go down. Please don’t be too worried or anxious because the number of positive cases increased in the beginning. The people should know that if the positive cases are detected earlier, then treatment could be given earlier. Thus it is in the interest of the people.
When we look at the statistics, out of the number of people who came in for testing because they were exhibiting symptoms of the disease, 23.6 per cent were tested positive. Out of the people who came in for testing because they have had contact with an infected person, 18.9 per cent were tested positive. When we tested people who had returned from abroad or had returned from other parts of the country where there were widespread infections, 1.8 per cent were tested positive. The important thing is to report to the health authorities quickly as soon as symptoms of the disease manifest themselves.
With regard to this, what a majority of the people are getting worried is the case of losing the sense of smell. They wanted to know how dangerous it would be for people who have lost their sense of smell. According to our specialist doctors, in the case of losing the sense of smell, if the person goes in for testing at an early stage, the disease could not be that serious.
However, if the testing was done at a later period, it would become more and more difficult to treat the disease. Now we have the ability to use test kits and determine whether a person has been infected or not. The number of test kits we have bought from the Republic of Korea with government funds is now over 400,000. Furthermore, we have test kits donated by ROK. We have started using these test kits in the Yangon Region starting from 29 September. We have begun using them in district and township hospitals. We will make arrangements to use these test kits in other regions and states as well. Therefore, I want the people to understand that although it may seem that more positive cases are being discovered at a faster rate, in the beginning, we would be able to give more effective treatment.
At the hospitals, we have made arrangements so that there are adequate supplies of equipment, and medicines to give proper treatment. Also, we have set up new places which can be used as hospitals and also established Intensive Care Units (ICUs) within hospitals. Furthermore, as the people know already, we have started a programme where the people can ask questions regarding matters which have been worrying them to specialist doctors every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Regarding this programme, there has been much interest. I understand that about 1,000 questions have been received. Among these questions, there are bound to be some repetitions. The people who have listened to this programme will know how our specialist doctors have responded to the questions. Please listen to this programme if you are interested. As I have reminded earlier; please don’t try to cure yourself using homemade remedies. Don’t believe when other people around you tell you “you can cure like this” or “you can use this other method”. Please ask your questions to the team of specialist doctors through the programme. There are also online programmes where you can ask questions.
I think you will have noticed that in the international news regarding the COVID disease if we made a study, it would be noticed that the disease has spread quite a lot in other countries. This is the second wave. There are some other people who have made assessments saying that the third wave has struck. In some other countries, they are facing the second wave. In some countries, they have been able to contain the disease. If we tried to find out why they have been able to contain the disease, it does not matter whether the country is rich or poor. In the end, it has to do with how much discipline the people had been able to maintain and whether the people followed the rules and regulations. I want to remind the people about this.
This is because the best and simplest way to control COVID-19 is social distancing. Therefore, stay at home, avoid going outside unnecessarily, and don’t receive guests unnecessarily. I have talked about these guidelines, but I would like to remind you again. Hosting the guests at home is not different from going outside. Wear a mask when going outside if necessary, and put on gloves, otherwise wash your hands at least 20 seconds. There are so many small hand sanitizer bottles. Keep a hand sanitizer bottle with you when you go outside for frequent hand cleaning.
If you do these two things; and if you stay away from each other at least 6-ft. as much as possible, you will get much protection. If it is not possible to keep this distance, wearing the mask and social distancing could reduce the possibility of infection to a great degree. It is required to follow the stay-at-home order in the areas with high infection rate. Many positive cases have shown no symptoms of the disease.
The infection of COVID-19 cannot be seen with naked eyes to stay away from the people with positive cases who have no symptoms. Therefore, don’t take the risk and have full awareness of the disease.
With regard to medicine, all over the world in hospitals, people across the globe including doctors are learning more and more about this disease. Right now it has been 9 to 10 months since the outbreak started early this year. Because we have passed this period of 9 to 10 months, we have learnt a lot. Based on this knowledge, we are carrying out preventive measures as well as measures to ensure that the livelihoods of our people are not unduly affected as much as we can.
For example, we have changed the rules for discharge from hospitals in accordance with the latest findings of the pandemic. If possible, discharge is allowed early, but home quarantine for one week is needed. Only then, the case will be confirmed negative. But medical tests must be conducted again. I want to remind you that no one is guaranteed not to be infected with the pandemic again. While some diseases are suffered only once in a lifetime, many medical experts have concluded that COVID-19 is not like such diseases. Although someone has recovered from the disease, it is better to take care of your health to prevent a second infection. I have frequently said that the elderly persons and those with poor health conditions must be seriously protected from this disease.
Many Myanmar people are suffering from hypertension, diabetes and renal failure. People with such diseases would seriously suffer from COVID-19. Therefore, family members with such health conditions and the elderly persons must be protected from this disease.
The infection rate is low among young people as they have high resistance to the infection. However, the virus can transmit to old persons at home.
It needs to be kept in mind that COVID-19 is giving us lessons on how to live in daily life with rules and disciplines. The situation has imposed very severe restrictions on us. The free living style must be controlled at the moment.
We would be able to overcome the disease only when the vaccine has been developed. Actually, the medical experts do not know that the vaccine would prevent the disease for the whole life, or whether it will be needed annually. The countries which will produce the vaccine are 100 per cent sure for it. However, they are not sure how long the potency of the vaccine will last.
Therefore, it is important for people to take care of their health. People with good basic health conditions could resist the pandemic. Infection rate is very rapid even in some developed countries. One of the high death tolls in those countries is the large population of elderly persons with high average lifespan.
In considering these situations, the COVID-19 death rate in those countries is not related to other diseases. They have better health conditions than our people. Therefore, our people need to maintain good health conditions with suitable foods and lifestyles.
Regarding the foods, I have frequently advised people to avoid salty foods, too much edible oil, sweets and unsuitable food for the health of individuals. Instead, consume more fruits and vegetables. Take physical exercises regularly.
Try to live a healthy lifestyle to have better health conditions and good immune systems. Even if you contract a disease, it will not develop to a serious level. Questions about healthcare can be raised to the specialist doctors three days a week; please listen to what they say carefully and follow their advice. I will also give a situation report twice a week.
We believe that it is the duty of the Union Government to take care of the healthcare needs of the people. In the final analysis, the health of the individual depends upon that individual. Even though the doctors give prescriptions of medicine, the disease will not disappear if the appropriate medicines are not consumed. The Union Government and the Health Ministry will work for the health of the people to the best of its ability. After all, people are in the best position to take care of their own health. I wish to conclude by urging you not to forget this fact. Please take good care of your health. Only good health can bring happiness. Our country can prosper only if our people are healthy and happy. Thank you.
(Translated by Kyaw Myaing, Aung Khin)