Nay Pyi Taw July 18
All-inclusiveness is required in carrying out Covid-19 prevention, control and treatment. As treatment is a common cause, involvement of external experts is also required in addition to health staff. Necessary support, encouragement and protection is needed as health personnel are closely dealing with the situation on the ground, said Chair-man of the State Administration Council Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at the third coordination meeting on COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment held at the meeting hall of the Office of Commander-in-Chief (Army) in Nay Pyi Taw this afternoon.
Also present were Vice Chair-man of SAC Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win, SAC members Admiral Tin Aung San, Lt-Gen Soe Htut, Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Thet Khaing Win, senior military officers of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army), the deputy minister for religious affairs and culture and officials. Chairmen of Region and State Administration Councils took part in the meeting through Video Conferencing.
In his opening address, the Senior General said the infection rate is fast in the third wave although the first and second waves were not serious. Globally, the number of positive ca-ses has exceeded 190 million. Myanmar has 224,236 positive cases till 17 this month. Covid-19 third wave began in the country in June. Infection rates started to increase on 1 July. A research report indicates a significant different in infection rate between the third wave and the first and second waves. Infection rate has jumped in the third wave.
The country has given vaccine to over 1.6 million people and the second round of vaccination is in progress. Orders have been placed and vaccines are being imported continuously to vaccinate the entire population. On 22 this month, 750,000 doses will arrive from China and more will follow on 23 and 24. Moreover, another contingent of vaccines will arrive in the country in the first week of August. The target is to vaccinate 50 percent of the population in this year. There are no restrictions for private vaccine importers.
Oxygen has become the centre of interest. In fact, oxygen treatment must be given only to the patients who really need it. But people became nervous by the rumors. So, there occur panic buying and storing of oxygen. Some are reselling the gas for profit. The best way is to take oxygen treatment under the advice of the hospitals and health officials. People’s hospitals, military ho-spitals, factories are producing oxygen. The country is also importing liquid oxygen and cylinders from Thailand and China through border trade. Neighbouring countries are also facing the same problem. The government is doing its best and concentrating on reducing the infection rate.
According to research and mobility pattern related to the Covid-19 outbreak, gatherings and assemblies are practically decreasing while public cooperation is on the increase. The people deserve to be praise-worthy for following the rules and disciplines with serious-ness. Individuals’ respect for the prescribed basic disciplines and inclusive cooperation can control the outbreak. Responsible officials also need to take systematic supervisory measures. Despite increasing outbreak, air, railway and road transport routes remain open to ensure smooth commodity flow and avoid difficulty with manufacturing. Healthcare and security are necessary for transport staff. Arrangements must be made to prioritize the transport staff in vaccination as more vaccine doses are due to arrive soon.
Martyrs’ Day, Dhamma Satkya Day and Eid alAdha are significant days that need to be celebrated without fail. How-ever, they must be celebrated in line with the Covid-19 rules, the Senior General said.
Speaking about the need for participation of entire people in Covid-19 prevention, the Senior General said: “It is necessary to prevent any kind of harm in Covid-19 preventive measures. Mainly, public cooperation is crucial. This disease cannot be thwarted. It cannot be seen, heard or smelled. So I want to say in such a situation, inclusive cooperation is more important for all of us. The main issue is for staff serving in treatment sector. There are service personnel as well as experts, pharmacists. As it is the public issue, I want to say we need cooperation of all. We also need to protect healthcare staff. They cannot be taken ill. Greater care is necessary for them. Their treatment is for public members. One serves for a lot of people. This is why they are more important. Prioritize them. We need to pay greater attention to them. Administrative officials at various levels need to do this. Meanwhile, I want to urge civil servants, experts and all skilled people outside to cooperate anyhow as it is the national issue. Volunteers are being invited. Some have come to report. But some do not dare to come for various reasons including threats. Some are outside so they have difficulty coming. I have said we have welcomed them. I would like to say we need cooperation. There are donations for necessary things. According to figures of yesterday, donations are pouring into regions and states. I have said that our Myanmar people have a philanthropic spirit. Amid difficulties, people are making donations in various regions and states. It is heartening to see they donate anyway. I am grateful to all donors. I would like to urge organizations and institutions to cooperate.”
Then, the Vice-Senior General, members of the SAC, union ministers, senior military officers and participants reported comprehensively on measures taken for prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19, operation of oxygen plants in respective state and regional commands, imports of oxygen, distribution of medicines and medical equipment from wholesalers and reviews, provision of transportation services in accordance with the rules not to disrupt the commodity flow and momentum of efforts to prevent, control and treat COVID-19, awareness-raising campaign on health and the disclosure of information on outbreak, control and treatment of the pandemic, detect-ion of 315 COVID-19 cases among the prison population in Myanmar including 120 patients allowed to dismiss from hospitals, 190 patients who are still receiving treatments and the deaths of five patients who had underlying conditions, successful containment of the pandemic due to systematic treatments given to patients who are positive in clinics in prison and detention centre, measures taken to organization of important event with minimum attendance in accordance with the rules, daily distribution of oxygen produced from private plants to hospitals, measures taken to import sufficient oxygen from other countries, efforts made to provide necessary assistance to healthcare workers, daily production of oxygen in plants of the Tatmadaw and private ones, necessary supervision for abidance of rules and restrict-ions to reduce the transmission of the pandemic sector by sector.
After hearing the reports, the Senior General said that as the transportation sector is essential for the health and economic sectors and the sector cannot be allowed to halt, it is necessary for the sector to abide by the rules and restrict-ions strictly. Given the need to travel to other regions without fail, it is necessary to operate RBE trains. As prevention and treatment of the pandemic can-not be carried out effectively without electricity, it is important to prevent electricity cut-offs and to provide security for staff in the electricity sector. Awareness-raising campaigns on health in television, radio and the print media must be launched effectively and it is also necessary to broadcast the campaign in the languages of the national races. It is vital to publish or broadcast awareness-raising programs, articles and reports which can easily be understood by the public. Loud speakers can also be used in dissemination of the messages to the public. Measures must be taken without fail to administer vaccines to all those who should receive them. Plans are underway to offer assistance to health workers, who deserve physical as well as mental support. Necessary cash allowance has been approved for them while responsible officials are required to take measures to inspire them. In conclusion, the Senior General urged participants to make preparations to fulfill the oxygen needs of remote areas and to use Tatmadaw helicopters and aircrafts in transportation of oxygen to such areas in real time in case of emergency. Then, the Senior General gave concluding remarks saying that discussions were mainly aimed at ensuring a decrease in infection rate and ma-king efforts so that the people will be relieved of concerns. It is seen that there was a decrease in movements and activities as notified alerts were continuously issued. It is to remind and notify the people of proper, systematic movements during the holidays through taking supervisory measures. It is needed to carry out tasks to render healthcare services to monks and nuns during the period of Buddhist lent and make arrangements without making any slip in offering foods to them. Besides, there may be religion-wise worship events, and so measures are to be taken to supervise the events to be in accordance with the COVID-19 restrictions and rules.
If there are difficulties in supply chains of agricultural and livestock products due to the restrictions in COVID-19 pandemic period, it is to help find solutions to the difficulties for enabling manufacturing businesses to keep running. Arrangements are to be made for enabling farmers to acquire agricultural loans and to enjoy proper profits. It is noticed that rumours were made and circulated with the intention to let the price of eggs get higher. We have run egg farming with might and main since 6 or 7 years ago. It will be witnessed that the Tatmadaw had been selling eggs to the public, and so there is no need to be worried about that. Measures must be taken to relieve the people’s fears on COVID-19 outbreak. He then spoke of plans made to curb and prevent COVID-19. He said, “There are preparations made regarding quarantine centres. A total of 1,934 centres including Tatmadaw and civilian hospitals have been prepared for about 69,800 people. Currently, only 25 percent of them are occupied. Similarly, for the patients who are in COVID-19 positive, there are 1,114 places capable of receiving about 45,900 or 46,000 patients.
Of them, 62 percent are occupied. 560 treatment centres capable of receiving 25,500 patients have been prepared and 92.2 percent of them are occupied. Those centres have a bigger number of patients. Regarding patients at treatment centres, if necessary, the patients at treatment centres are to be moved back to the places for patients who are in COVID-19 positive. This will not happen in the current situation. However, it is necessary to think about it in advance. Here, it is important to manage how to make shifts in a situation on how and what will happen. It is important to provide them with meals. In the Tatmadaw, military hospitals provide their patients with all meals. Civilian hospitals also provide their patients with meals as much as they can. There are some arrangements at the civilian hospitals with the contribution of donors. It is also needed to closely monitor these situations. It is important for the patients to be nutritious. Arrangements are to be made to take care of the patients so that they could be strong to resist the disease. There might be patients who could afford to buy meals and those who could not. It is needed to closely monitor their condition. It does not matter whether they are rich or not. Don’t let it happen that they could not afford to expense meals because they are poor. I would like to say that we have to provide all of them with things that they should deserve as human beings.”
If there are difficulties in regions and states, coordination and collaboration are to be made through contacting ministries concerned and military commands. It is to give consideration on giving medical treatments to patients. The public need to cooperate in measures to be against acts harmful to safety and security of administrators and cooperative people who are taking part in measures to curb spread of the virus and give medical treatment to patients. It is needed to recognize the performance of people who come and join to take such measures, the Senior General said.