State Counsellor talks about containment measures against COVID-19

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Now that the cool season is upon us, I hope the people of our country would take better care of their health. Just as we had thought; COVID-19 infection rates have gone up again. If we make a calculation, this infection spread has begun to increase during a period of one week to ten days. Within one or two weeks, the rate of infection could increase further. The Ministry of Health and Sports have already made preparations for this. The people also need to make preparations.
What I wish to remind you again is this – if you notice any symptoms of the disease, please go to the hospital at once. We have heard the news that some people did not go to the hospital because they were afraid. We learnt that when the news of fatalities came out, in many cases, it was because the patients failed to get themselves admitted early at the hospital. I understand that the patients were very afraid to get themselves admitted early at the hospital. In the early period, the reason for people being afraid was because not enough preparations were made; things were not that perfect. I heard that when news came out that the situation at the hospital was not quite satisfactory, people were afraid to go to the hospital. Now we have made preparations with great care at the hospital. Please do not be too worried.
With regard to these things, we have made plans with the Ministry of Information to disseminate information by using TV broadcasts. Another thing is that people do not wish to go to the hospital alone. I understand that people fear to be left alone. For those patients who are admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 disease, we do not allow any attendant to accompany the patient. However, at present, we have made arrangements for one attendant to accompany the patient in cases of elderly people, people with disabilities and patients who are in critical condition. However, they need to follow the rules and instructions prescribed by the hospital. If the attendant is sick, he is of no use to the patient. Therefore please don’t be afraid to go to the hospital. Please go to the hospital quickly as soon as you notice any symptoms of the disease. We have estimated in advance that the spread of infections would increase. Because some people might be too much worried, I want to say this – the discovery rate of positive cases has increased because our rate of testing the disease has also increased. That’s why please don’t be too anxious. Of course, you need to be vigilant all the time.
The Ministry of Health and Sports has issued an appeal. You need to be very careful at this time. That’s why don’t go outdoors if possible. Stay at home. They have requested in the appeal to put on face masks and face shields; that is to wear the face shield in front of the face mask. If possible, I want you to wear both. Please wear the mask as well as the face shield. I want you to follow this routine in “stay-at-home” townships as well in townships where the outbreak is severe. Another thing is that we will have to issue “stay-at-home” orders in places where the outbreak is severe. This is to prevent further spread of the disease. We will relax the restrictions in places where the infection spread has gone down. We have been under the COVID-19 disease situation for quite some time. As we have gained considerable experience in dealing with the COVID-19 disease, we know in which areas we can relax restrictions, in which areas we need to continue imposing restrictions and in which areas we need to impose more restrictions. That is why we will relax the restrictions as soon as the situation improves. Also, in places where we need to be more careful, we will increase the restrictions. We will impose restrictions as needed in a flexible manner. This will be implemented by the Ministry of Health and Sports and other relevant departments after studying the situation.
Another thing I wish to say at this time is that we are approaching the Christmas season. After Christmas, New Year will follow. During Christmas time, especially in big cities like Yangon and Mandalay where the virus is spreading rapidly, and the population density is high, Christmas is celebrated annually in a big way drawing huge crowds. We have not permitted such celebrations this year. Because we have not permitted such celebrations, we are working hard to arrange entertainment programmes on TV because we understand that people would feel stressed out and frustrated. We will work on this as much as possible. This is to help relieve the boredom of the people for having to stay indoors. We are making plans to make this period beneficial as well as enjoyable.
This is the IT age. IT is developing all over the world. Although the arrival of this technology was later than that of many countries, it has spread rapidly in the country.
The percentage of mobile phone use among the public has exceeded 100 per cent in the past five years. It means that one person is using more than one SIM card. In addition, people are using mobile phones skillfully. Plans are being made to conduct an educative programme on the effective use of mobile phones in business and education and to support the economic development of our people. The plans will be implemented soon.
There will be slight changes in the programmes on COVID next week. Question-answer programme of healthcare is conducted thrice a week at present. There have been some repeated questions, and the public have widely understood about COVID. Commencing Tuesday, the regular question-answer programme of healthcare will be broadcast, and on Wednesday education programme about the role of IT and other modern technologies in the economy and the education sector.
On Thursday, the practical use of IT programme will be broadcast. For example, the term business can easily be understood as the relation and the balance between demand and supply. If someone has something to be sold, another person must be persuaded to purchase it. Buying and selling are not only for goods but also for services, works and skills. Bilateral trade from one place to another is also a business. Modern technologies are very effective in doing such things. For example, if a farmer wants to sell his pumpkins, and he publishes this information online, the potential buyers such as a restaurant or a grocery shop would contact the pumpkin farmers. I gave the pumpkin example as I like it. Such types of transactions can be done for other items. This technology can also be used in the city for job-related matters. For example, a businessperson can pose a job recruitment and criteria for this post online. If a suitable employee sees this post, he or she will apply for this job. This technology must be explained to the public.
The theory will be broadcast on Wednesday, and a presentation will be made about the business between a buyer and a seller in sharing their experiences to the public. Such programmes will be expanded for business, building in learning capacity and hiring books like an online library. These programmes will begin next week. It is expected that people will be interested in these programmes. People should watch these programmes which are not only for the COVID crisis period but also for economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 period.
Capacity and technical skills of the public must be promoted. Knowledge will be shared on how to use mobile phones effectively for business and family affairs. At the same time, better relations could be established between the government departments and the public.
Another example is the application of a licence. It could be applied online. Such methods will be explained in these programmes. These are only some of the programmes for the economic development of the country. The government has other major plans. For example, the foundation will be laid for the establishment of Korea-Myanmar industrial zone in Hlegu Township next month, followed by Myanmar-Singapore industrial park in the near future in the same township. The smart and eco-city project will be implemented in Dagon Myothit Township. It will be a new city project with developing technologies.
These projects could attract foreign investments and create employment opportunities for our people. Creation of job opportunities could provide considerable support for the economic development of each citizen in the post-COVID-19 period. The cool climate in the country has coincided with the increasing number of positive cases. People need to remain vigilant to overcome the disease, and it is believed people would have the required capacity for it.
On this point, people would like to know when the COVID-19 vaccination would be available. According to the latest information, a prominent pharmaceutical company has completed 97 per cent in producing this vaccination. Some sources said that this company could produce this vaccination next month. After this major company could produce the medicine, the remaining companies would be able to do it. The company would, of course, give priority to their own citizens for vaccination. This is natural. However, we will try to get the vaccination for our people as soon as possible with the assistance of global health support groups.
The Union Government is making plans for storage, distribution and vaccination. Therefore, people need to make sure they do not get infected. It is not good to get infected just before the vaccination appears. Therefore don’t lose heart, remain vigilant. Don’t go outside during the Christmas and New Year period. Avoid public gatherings. If you need to go outside, please wear a mask. Use a plastic cover or a face shield over the mask.
During this time, we need to use our strength. However, I believe you already have strength. Of course, you need to use this strength at the appropriate time. I wish to urge all the people to keep on striving till we achieve complete and total victory over COVID-19. May you all have good health and well-being. — MNA (Translated by Kyaw Myaing, Aung Khin)

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