State Counsellor reports to people regarding COVID situation

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Now I need to urge all the people once again for their health. This is the duty of the COVID-19 committee. Furthermore, it is the duty of the Union Government to take care of the health of the people and to work as much as possible for the security of the people’s health and economic welfare. At the moment, as everyone knows, the infection rate for COVID-19 is fluctuating up and down; at an average it is now staying steady at about 1,000 daily. We need to work hard to reduce the infection rate. At this time, we need to be fully aware of the fact that there had been gatherings during the election period; the people are well aware of this fact. Therefore, because there had been gatherings, the infection rate is bound to go up. When we made a study of the situation, we found out that there had been spread of infections in Ayeyawady Region, Mandalay Region, and Bago Region. Everyone knows about this already. The infection rate in the Yangon Region, is of course, the highest. Apart from this, we have noticed that the rate of infections has increased slightly in these three regions. That is why I want you all to be vigilant. I wish to say again that you can never be too careful.
Regarding the COVID-19 disease, as the weather is becoming cooler, you need to be more careful. According to the assessments and experience of experts, the COVID-19 virus becomes a little more active and multiplies a little bit faster in cold weather. That is why we need to be more careful as the cold weather sets in. We are lucky because in our country some places are not that cold. However, we have areas where it is cold. We need to be very careful in cold regions. Therefore, for our people to be healthy and to keep warm the Ministry of Health and Sports has been broadcasting physical exercise programmes; I want our people to take interest in these programmes. If people take part in these exercise programmes, they would feel happy and healthy. Physical exercises are useful for reducing stress. This is what experts have found out scientifically.
There is another thing; very soon, we will be conducting dance competitions from online networks using TV to promote health. The people can get prizes if they are good at dancing. By doing this, we can reduce stress levels. We can also improve our health. I have said this many times regarding COVID-19 disease. People who are basically in good health do not have to suffer too much even if they get infected. That is why it is very important to be fundamentally in good health. We have found out in our country as well as in other countries that people who have diabetes need to be very careful and vigilant about COVID-19. People who have diabetes have to suffer a lot if they get infected with COVID-19 disease. In our country, there are many people who have COVID-19 disease as well as heart disease. This is because of weaknesses in public healthcare. We are making efforts to correct and improve this situation. However, it is not possible to improve the basic healthcare situation overnight. It takes years. We can even say that it starts with the child in the mother’s womb. That is why we need to take care of pregnant women from the time of conception. That is why we are making extra efforts to look after these pregnant women during the childbirth period and beyond.
Mothers need to try and prepare well in order for babies to be healthy since the baby is in the womb. So, basic health cannot be improved overnight. If a person already has a basic health problem, the person should pay more attention to COVID-19 risks. Let me stress this point again.
Another thing is that as the COVID-19 crisis lasts much longer, the global economy suffers huge impacts. But Myanmar is not the only country that suffers economic impacts. We are trying our best to cope with the financial and economic difficulties of our citizens.
As we all know, this is the fourth time that we provided financial assistance to the grassroots people. Everything went smoothly during the first, second and third times. As for the fourth time, we have seen that there were some disputes among the crowds in some places. These disputes are not necessary. This is because we have no intention of leaving anyone behind. We are not going to leave anyone behind. If you have been left behind for any reason, we now have a Centre for Complaints. You can make complaints to the centre if your family did not receive financial assistance. If you did not get your entitlement because you are a single person, you could make a complaint. So, just calm down and make a complaint at the complaint centre. Just inform us about the situation. No one will be excluded intentionally. We will provide financial support again to the needy people who were left behind. So, we want all our citizens who are very dutiful, to help resolve this issue smoothly. We would like to complete the fourth round of financial assistance fully and quickly.
Another matter is that we heard that some people are facing problems in matters related to getting small loans. They obtained small loans. So, they need to repay. Microfinance organizations also have their own rules. According to their rules, they have to demand repayment of the loans in due course. It can be very frustrating for the people who cannot repay the loans during the COVID-19 crisis. They have to worry. But they are not able to repay.
According to the financial situations of our country, we cannot provide financial assistance to all the people in the entire country. But we have selected one state and two regions where COVID-19 outbreaks are intense and have large populations. They are Rakhine State and Bago and Yangon Regions.
In coordination with the microfinance organizations, the government has begun making arrangements for payment moratorium. By the way, some people received loans from more than one place. They obtained loans from two, three or four microfinance organizations, so their debts became a heavy burden.
So I would like to request you not to do that. It would not be easy to repay if you borrowed money from more than one place. Anyway, I understand that getting small loans is a necessity for our grassroots people. So, we are planning to provide loans to small businesses that need loans. Within two or three weeks, we hope to be able to present to the public what plans will be carried out. We are doing our best for the business sector. I believe that the general public will participate and cooperate in this effort.
In fact, since two months before the World Health Organization announced COVID-19 as a pandemic, we began discussions on how we can prevent the crisis from harming our people economically. We will implement those plans step by step as needed. So people should not worry too much. But people need to be aware of the risks. I want the citizens to take care of their health. If the citizens can take care of themselves and protect themselves from infection and take care not to spread infections, the burden on the Union Government will be reduced by more than half. Resolving economic and social impacts are responsibilities of the Union government, so we will do our best.
In the video speeches that we deliver twice a week, we will let the citizens know what we will do and what our plans are. We will let the citizens know about our plans via TV or websites of relevant departments or state-run newspapers as soon as possible. Let me repeat. Recently, crowds were formed, so the spread of COVID-19 is likely to increase within a week or two slightly. Please, avoid crowds to prevent COVID-19. The Ministry of Health and Sports has also issued another statement recently. Legal actions will be taken against anyone who fails to abide by the ministry’s rules and regulations. We don’t want to take legal actions against our citizens. We do not want to punish our citizens. We just want to protect the citizens from this disease. Our citizens are daring and brave. They know their duty, and they are smart and sharp. So, I hope that all of you will work together and participate for your health, for your own safety and for the safety of our country.
May all be able to live in good health and happiness! Thank you. (Translated by Kyaw Myaing, Maung Maung Swe)

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