Myanmar’s Covid-19 death toll passes 10,000

NAYPYITAW, 3 Aug 2021:

Myanmar has surpassed 10,000 Covid-19 deaths, according to latest official figures, and comes amid an uncontrolled wave of the virus adding to the deep political and social crisis as a result of the military coup.

Health authorities reported 3,689 new infections and 330 deaths, a new high in the daily death tolls – bringing the total to 306,354 cases, including 10,061 deaths.

However, groups of Myanmar doctors warn that official records do not reflect the disastrous reality in the country due to the collapse of the health system and the limited testing capacity.

According to the latest official data, almost 30% of the 12,394 tests carried out yesterday were positive, which, according to the Myanmar Doctors For Human Rights Network, indicates that the outbreak is widespread.

The supply of sanitary oxygen is scarce, the doctors denounced, adding that the military, who deny the lack of supply and monopolise tanks, has issued orders prohibiting direct sale to patients or relatives.

The junta, which seized power on Feb 1 and violently oppress dissent, has enforced lockdowns in the most important cities of the country, although citizens continue with their protests.

The junta’s foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin, during yesterday’s virtual meeting with his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, thanked the bloc for their help in combating the pandemic.

He added that Myanmar continues to need “vaccine, medical equipment, technical support, as well as humanitarian assistance.”

The political crisis is the focus of part of the talks taking place this week between the Asean ministers, who are scheduled to meet Tuesday with their counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will join tomorrow and plans to address the Myanmar crisis at every ministerial meeting in which he participates, said a US State Department spokesman.

Blinken will urge Asean to hold the junta accountable to the five-point consensus reached in April, including ending violence against civilians and accepting the appointment of a special envoy to mediate.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing promised on Sunday to hold democratic elections before August 2023 and justifies the seizure of power by alleging electoral fraud in November, which leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won by a landslide.

– EFE