To prevent COVID-19, constant vigilance is vital


While novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections are on the decline in China, the World Health Organization has escalated the risk assessment of COVID-19 to “very high at global level”.
This can be attributed to the fact that the number of coronavirus cases and deaths are on the rise in South Korea, Italy, and Iran.
As more infections have been found in other countries, the health authorities in Myanmar have tightened surveillance at the Yangon International Airport, which serves as the main entry point to Myanmar for international travelers, to identify suspected patients. They have also taken the necessary measures to establish an information network with hotels and guest houses where travelers stay.
After a survey in China, the WHO has issued five guidelines for countries that have not reported any COVID-19 cases yet. The Myanmar health authorities are implementing the same measures.
As we step up efforts for preventing COVID-19 infections, we need to consider banning the entry of a cruise ship carrying 800 people on board to the country as, prior to its planned visit to Myanmar, the ship has traveled to countries that have reported coronavirus infections.
Besides, the authorities have advised people against holding public gatherings and avoiding crowds, unless strictly necessary.
Although no COVID-19 cases have been reported so far in Myanmar, we need to be prepared for any possible outbreak. Therefore, the relevant departments, social organizations, private hospitals and clinics, and the Public Health Department must coordinate and continue their prevention and control measures.
The Ministry of Health and Sports has been holding a central-level meeting on disease prevention and control daily, issuing guidelines, and distributing information continuously.
Regional health authorities and workers are advised to go on field tours while implementing township-wise preventive measures, under the leadership of the respective township offices of the Public Health Department, while the state and region offices of the PHDs serve as the chief coordinators for the project.
The public must keep constant track of the ministry’s prevention and control undertakings, guidelines for the undertakings, standard procedures, and public health knowledge through the website ( ) and social networking pages of the ministry.
According to the disease control centre of China, of every 100 COVID-19 patients, 80 per cent suffer from mild infection, while 15 per cent of the cases are severe,  and 5 per cent are at the acute stage.
In case an infection is reported in the country, it may follow the same pattern. The staff at the ministry must strive to save the country from COVID-19, and curb the infection and fatality rate should it occur in the country, by making a commitment to serve the public interest.

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