UN Warns of ‘Catastrophic’ COVID Situation in Myanmar

UN Warns of ‘Catastrophic’ COVID Situation in Myanmar

The UK has warned the United Nations Security Council that half of Myanmar’s 54 million people killed in the coup could become infected with COVID-19 in the next two weeks.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the army toppled an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, sparking widespread protests and fighting between the army and the newly formed civilian militias.

The US, UK and others have imposed sanctions on the generals for the coup and cracking down on pro-democracy protests in which hundreds have been killed. Sprawling military businesses have also been targeted.

“The coup has resulted in an almost total collapse of the health care system, and health workers are being attacked and arrested,” British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward said during an informal Council discussion. security on Myanmar.

“The virus is spreading through the population, very quickly indeed. By some estimates, over the next two weeks, half of Myanmar’s population could become infected with COVID, ”she said.

The UK urged the Council to ensure that Resolution 2565, which calls for ceasefires in conflict areas to allow the safe delivery of coronavirus vaccines, is respected in Myanmar.

“It is essential that we think about how to implement [it] Woodward said.

Myanmar state media reported on Wednesday that the military was seeking international assistance to contain the coronavirus.

Infections in the Southeast Asian country have increased since June, with 4,980 cases and 365 deaths reported on Wednesday, according to health ministry data cited in state media. Doctors and funeral services have charged a lot more.

The UN has estimated that only 40 percent of Myanmar’s health facilities are still able to function. Many doctors and healthcare workers joined the civil disobedience movement that began in the aftermath of the coup and were targeted by the military.

“In order to have an effective and smooth COVID vaccination and to provide humanitarian assistance, close monitoring by the international community is essential,” said Myanmar Ambassador to the UN Kyaw Moe Tun, speaking on behalf of the United Nations. elected civilian government, during the Security Council discussion.

Longchuan County Red Cross volunteers in China perform COVID tests at a quarantine center in an area controlled by KIO in March 2021 [File: Yawng Htang/Al Jazeera]

“As such, we would like to call on the UN, in particular the Security Council, to urgently establish a UN-led monitoring mechanism for effective COVID vaccination and smooth delivery of COVID. ‘humanitarian aid,’ he said.

Myanmar recently received two million more doses of Chinese vaccines, but only vaccinated about 3.2% of its population, according to a Reuters tracker.

Last week, a batch of donated doses of Sinopharm arrived from China, government military officials said, but they would be prioritized for those living along the Sino-Myanmar border.

China has also provided more than 10,000 shots to a rebel group operating near its southern border in Myanmar, as Beijing seeks to stop an influx of cases from the country. Some of the ethnic organizations operating in the country’s border regions continued COVID health measures with help from China as the national response crumbled after the military seized power.


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