As of yesterday, there have been over 1,000 people who were tested positive with COVID-19. We understand that there would be a cause for anxiety and worries among the people because of this spike of 1,000 people within one day. Although it is natural that there would be anxieties and worries, the main thing is for us to be able to contain the infection spread as much as possible. The way to contain this virus is simple. I have said this repeatedly. Please follow the basic instructions issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports. Avoid going out of the house. Not only should you avoid going outside the house; please don’t accept visitors. If you need to go outside due to unavoidable circumstances, if you need to receive visitors, please ask the visitors to wear masks. You yourself need to wear masks. Wash your hands regularly. I would like to urge you to wear masks all the time with seriousness; these two fundamental things; to wear masks and to avoid having contact with people. If we can do these two things, we would be in a situation to prevent this disease to a considerable extent. Please wash your hands regularly. As I have said before, if you wash your hands for 20 seconds it would be more effective. So we can understand that people are filled with anxiety and worries. We also understand that we need to use all possible methods to contain the rapid spread of this virus as much as possible.
We can understand that there have been anxieties and worries because of the climbing rate of fatalities. Right now there have been 172 deaths. Therefore, this situation will not improve if we just feel concerned about this. What I wish to say is that we need to detect the virus early if we are to provide effective treatment. What we have seen is that some people try to use household remedies when they think that they have been infected and treat themselves in their own homes. They go to the hospital only when their home remedies fail.
Then it is too late. It is too late to give effective treatment. That is why what is important is to receive treatment at an early stage.
With respect to this matter, I wish to discuss two things. The first thing is that a great majority of people wish to go to specialist hospitals. When they go to specialist hospitals, effective testing could not be done because there are so many patients at these hospitals. That is why we wish to urge people to go to the district and township hospitals. We are doing this not because we don’t have a valid reason. At the moment, our Union Government has ordered one lakh Antigen test kits and medicines to conduct tests quickly from the Republic of Korea. The ROK government is also going to donate USD 500,000 worth of kits. These things will arrive in our country within days. We will distribute to our district and township hospitals. These hospitals will be able to conduct tests to see whether people are infected or not. Therefore I wish to request our GP doctors, health centres and private clinics to help these district and township hospitals as much as possible. This is because I want our people to go to the district and township hospitals to get properly tested for virus infection. We need adequate human resources at these hospitals. That is why I want the healthcare workers and doctors from the private sector to provide assistance. As we conduct these tests, if we find someone who is tested positive, we would send this person to the type of hospital where treatment could be given. We would be able to give effective treatment to the patient only if the virus is detected early and the patient sent to the hospital early before the disease gets worse. If the patient is sent to the hospital only at a later stage of the infection, it would be difficult to contain the disease and to provide treatment. Another thing is that I have said this earlier on. People try to treat themselves in their own homes using household remedies. This matter of people trying to cure themselves using household remedies is related to the spread of news online. Some news is spread with good intentions; some people share what they have heard from others. I would say this is a bit irresponsible. Yes, we have to say this is irresponsible. These people spread the news from hearsay.
We understand that it is the spreading of ridiculous treatments. It will be wrong to follow such treatments because no one has a definite method to prevent COVID-19. Some countries are trying to produce vaccines. I understand they would be successful in producing the vaccine in two or three countries. However, if the World Health Organization approves the vaccine, we will try to get it as early as possible for our people. We are working on this. Actually, our people need to realize that there is no vaccine for this disease until now. It is not true that any food or drink can prevent the spread of COVID-19 at all. Therefore, it is required to stay away from others, to wear face mask near other persons even if we are 6-ft away from someone and to wash hands regularly. These are the methods for self-protection.
There is also no drug for the treatment of COVID-19 until now. Therefore, if someone suspected himself to be infected with this disease, do not undergo ridiculous treatments. Don’t believe that certain foods or drinks could relieve the disease. Get medical tests at the hospitals. Choose township and district hospitals in the first priority. The Union Government also wants to ease the worry of people as possible as we can because our people need to face against the disease confidently. Stability of mind is very crucial for recovery from the disease. This mental situation could help in overcoming any disease. Nervousness and anxiety could worsen the disease. So, we are finding all the possible ways to lessen the worries of people. Some veteran doctors are helping us. The health ministry and these experienced doctors will make a question-answer programme every week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on the topic on COVID-19. Questions can be raised to this programme through the Facebook page of the health ministry. The questions will be scrutinized to avoid repeated ones. The questions will be answered from the programme, for example, the questions whether a certain food could relieve the disease. The veteran doctors will answer the questions more deeply. The programme will help the infected persons to face against the disease, and it will help in the prevention of disease for the other persons. We will also open more fever clinics outside the township and district hospitals for ordinary illnesses depending on our workforces.
People should not feel nervous about the disease. Don’t feel guilty and remorse for the recklessness of health awareness in the past. Instead, it is better to have more awareness. Don’t have many worries about the situation of our country and the future of our country. For example, the death rate has increased a little bit from 1.4 per cent to 1.6 per cent. It was not a sharp rise. It is not surprising that confirmed cases have increased as swabs from more suspected persons were tested. However, a certain extent of worry is required for having awareness. Too much anxiety could reduce the immune system of the body. Too much stress caused by worries could lose immunity to the disease. So we don’t want our people to have worries unnecessarily.
Another thing is that some citizens worry about the future. They worry about their businesses and about how they will have to make their living in the post-COVID-19 period. I said about it earlier. The government takes into account these matters.
It is still September, but the investment volume has already been greater than the previous year’s amount. What I would like to say is that despite the COVID-19 crisis, we could manage to prevent the economy from sharply contracting. We achieved success to some extent. Regarding trade, the volume in the nine months of this year still cannot catch up the volume in the 12 months of the previous year, but the volume has almost caught up. And we still have three more months. I am just talking about the two leading figures, which is the most relevant figures in the economy. We all work hard so that the citizens will not need to worry too much for the future of our country. The citizens must also make huge efforts. The citizens must not be negligent. The disease spreads widely because of negligence. So, I want you to have the determination to be very careful.
There is a saying which means that one’s mind must be pure for the sake of those who take care of the person. Now, I want you to try to be healthy for those who take care of you. By the way, I would like to express thanks to the citizens who worry about my health. If you want me to be healthy, you also should try to be healthy because if I hear that citizens are healthy, I will gain mental strength and consequently my health will be better.
If we support each other and work cooperatively, we will overcome this problem quickly. I believe that we will overcome it. But, if we need to take too much time to overcome this challenge, we will have to suffer more. If we can overcome it quickly, the difficulties that the citizens are facing will be reduced quickly. So, please cooperate with us. Don’t worry too much, unnecessarily. Please do not have unnecessary worries. But, please keep in mind that caution can never be in excess.
I wish all our citizens good health and well-being. Thank you.
(Translated by Kyaw Myaing, Maung Maung Swe)