State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Report to People regarding need for strict compliance with regulations, instructions, directives issued for containment of COVID-19

First of all, I wish to send good wishes and Metta to all citizens of Myanmar for your good health and well-being. At this time, I am sure everyone understands how very important it is to be in good health. We can say that this COVID-19 disease has come to us again for the second time beginning from the middle of August. At this moment it is spreading, especially in Yangon region. In this regard, as I am speaking now, I will be speaking especially to the citizens of Yangon. In Rakhine State, we can say that we have been able to contain, to a certain extent, the infection that began to spread from Sittway. This is because the people obeyed the strict rules and regulations issued by the authorities. Regarding this, I wish to express my appreciation to U Nyi Pu, Chief Minister of Rakhine State, members of the state government and the people. If we all obeyed strictly the rules and regulations, there is no reason why we cannot control this disease. Right now, we have issued rules and regulations with regard to Yangon region. Some might think that these rules and regulations are too restrictive. However, if we all obeyed these restrictions strictly for two or three weeks, we can arrive at a situation when this disease would be under control. That is why I urge all of you to obey the rules and regulations. When we say “rules”, we should think about its meaning. The first point is to protect oneself. The next thing is to protect others. By obeying the rules and regulations, first of all, you are protecting yourself.
I am sure all of you know that the infection spread in Yangon is faster than the rate of infection spread in March and April earlier on. Not only is the infection spreading faster, we can say that the number of people who have passed away has increased at a faster rate compared to the previous period. Before it was 6, and now it is 8, so in total it is 14. Among those 8 persons who passed away, two are not that old. We can say they are in the prime of life. They don’t have any underlying diseases. That is why we have to assume that they passed away because of the COVID. That is why I don’t want all of you to think in a carefree manner “let COVID happen, it is not life-threatening”. I want to say emphatically that those who have underlying diseases are at greater risk. Among those who have passed away, the majority are those with diabetes and high blood pressure. If one has diabetes or high blood pressure, it is next to impossible to fight back against the COVID disease. Please be careful. People who are not in good health should be especially careful. The rest of the people also need to be careful. The other thing I have noticed is that among some of those infected, some are teenagers. They are 16, 15 and 18-year-olds; youths in the prime of life. That is why we should deeply understand that COVID does not discriminate whether you are old or young, or whether you have underlying health problems or not. This is very important.
For Yangon, the main thing is to impose travel restrictions and to prevent public gatherings from happening. All need to practise social distancing. The pandemic could be controlled if individuals follow simple guidelines for wearing masks, gloves and staying 6 feet apart in minimum from each other. We also noticed that the rules for preventing public gatherings have impacts on the livelihood of the people and that the government has adopted plans to provide support to the public, and has been implementing them. We will continue to work as needed. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and restrictions, the daily routines have been affected. People must have patience with this situation. The more our people abide by the rules, the faster we could lift the restrictions. We have imposed strict restrictions for stay-at-home programmes in some townships of Yangon. I need to mention Thingangyun Township because there are many confirmed cases there. It was learnt that the virus spread among the visitors to KTV lounges. It has been concluded that public gatherings are one of the root causes of this. At the KTV lounge, the visitors will not stay 6-ft apart. Singing in the karaoke lounge would cause transmission of the virus more easily. The visitors used the microphones one after another. Infection occurred in this way. So, we have ordered the KTV’s to close. However, we also have consideration for people who are relying on this business for their livelihood. In fact, their businesses will not stop for long. The spread of the virus would have wider impacts. Therefore, we have imposed strict rules.
With regard to travelling, as soon as positive cases were reported in Rakhine State and many cases were found in Sittway, travel restriction from this state to other areas was imposed. Although our people in Rakhine State wanted to go outside as usual, we did not pander to their wishes and persuaded them not to do so. This was not because of hatred towards them, but to prevent the spread of this disease to the other areas of the country. If the whole country had to suffer from this pandemic, we would not be able to focus on Rakhine State. This was the reason for imposing restrictions on the places with many cases. This disease is spreading in Yangon with a faster pace in comparing with that of other areas. So, we have to impose restrictions in Yangon. Don’t go outside of Yangon unnecessarily. Authorities from other areas will conduct medical tests to those who come from the Yangon Region, and the visitors will have to stay under quarantine.
Therefore, it is better for all people in Yangon to stay at home. There would be a question regarding shopping for household commodities. It is an unavoidable issue. People need to go to the market. However, they need to strictly follow the rules at the markets. Legal actions will be taken for violation of the rules. I have said frequently that law is not for punishing citizens. In fact, it is for ensuring the stability and tranquility of the society. If the disease widely spread, our society will be affected, and so it can’t be stable and tranquil. So, we say that those who violated the rules and regulations concerned will be charged under the Natural Disaster Management Law because the Natural Disaster Management Law is more severe than the Communicable Diseases Law. Only severe legal action will be able to control the spread of COVID-19. We always issue instructions to let the general public know what our objective is and what we want them to do. We want the general public to thoroughly observe the instructions. I can’t read out all the instructions right now. But, the instructions will be announced on TV. The newspapers will also publish the instructions. I want the citizens to observe and follow the instructions.
Yangon is a ‘heart-city’ which enjoys a special place in our hearts. So, it is important that the residents in Yangon need to show a good example. In Rakhine State, we now can control the disease. That means we have reached a stage where the disease has been put under control, but that does not mean our task of controlling the disease is complete. So, there is no reason that we cannot control the spread of the disease in Yangon Region. There is no reason that the city in the hearts of the citizens cannot handle the issue successfully. I want you to make strenuous efforts. All people need to abide by the rules and regulations, which are not difficult to follow. They are very simple. And it is not difficult for the general public to understand why the rules and regulations were laid down. So, please follow the rules. Don’t get overconcerned. But you can never be too cautious. So, always be cautious. We will make efforts as much as possible in order to reach the situation in which we can relax restrictions. But in making efforts, the role of the general public is very important, as I have said frequently. Only if the general public cooperates with us, our efforts will be successful. So, residents in Yangon need to show what stuff they are made of. In conclusion, I would like to request Yangon residents to show the whole world how you can rapidly and effectively control the COVID-19. May you all enjoy good health and well-being!—MNA (Translated by Kyaw Mying, Aung Khin)

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