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COVID-19 Surge Stresses Health Care in Myanmar’s Biggest City

Locals wait to receive medical checkups for signs of the COVID-19 virus at a mobile health clinic on a bus in Thingangyun township, Yangon, Myanmar, Sept. 8, 2020Photo Courtesy: RFA

Myanmar health workers are scrambling with a skyrocketing number of coronavirus cases in Yangon region, setting up additional quarantine facilities there in stadiums, universities, and government buildings, health officials said Friday.

The Southeast Asia nation has seen a resurgence in COVID-19 infection rates with 1,635 new cases reported since Aug. 16, according to figures from the Ministry of Health and Sports.

As of Friday, Myanmar registered 2,422 confirmed COVID-19 cases, half of which were in Yangon region, its major population center with 7.4 million people. The state capital of the same name is the Myanmar’s largest city, which used to be the national capital of then Burma, and known as Rangoon.

The country of 54 million that is larger in area than France recorded 272 new cases overnight and now has a total of 14 COVID-related fatalities.

In response to the surge, health authorities have imposed lockdowns in all Yangon’s townships, except faraway Kokokyun, a small group of islands in the northeastern Bay of Bengal.

Dr. Myint Htwe, minister of health and sports, said the ministry will open temporary facilities in Phaunggyi in the region’s Hlegu township to treat the growing number of COVID-9 patients, while state-owned sport stadiums in Yangon will be modified to be used as quarantine centers.

In March, the regional government began converting a training complex for civil servants in Phaunggyi into a large COVID-19 treatment center, with the number of beds expected to reach 2,000, according to local media reports, to handle increasing numbers of confirmed coronavirus patients.

Near full capacity

Dr. Khin Khin Gyi, director of the Central Contagious Disease Prevention and Eradication Sub-department at the Health Ministry, said medical workers must prepare for a scenario in which the number of patients could double.

“If COVID-positive patients are young and have no preexisting conditions and show no symptoms, they will be quarantined in separate facilities,” she said. “They don’t need any immediate treatment yet.”

“For those with preexisting conditions or who are seniors, they will be admitted to a hospital, together with patients under investigation,” she added.

The ministry is preparing to run lab tests on patients who have their noses and throats swabbed at community-based clinics, Khin Khin Gyi said.

“Now, our labs and testing facilities have almost reached full capacity,” she said.

At least 73 percent of infected patients do not show any symptoms of the highly contagious respiratory illness, Khin Khin Gyi added.

“Services for taking sample swabs from patients will be extended to community fever clinics at Insein Hospital,” she said. “If they test positive, then they will be admitted to hospitals and treated.”

Dr. Maw Maw Oo from Yangon General Hospital’s emergency medicine department, said about 20-30 people are testing positive for COVID-19 each day at the health care facility.

The hospital is equipped to admit a maximum of 40 patients daily, but it is now handling about 70 people with COVID-19 symptoms, she said.

“It could be disastrous,” she warned. “If we keep getting new patients at that rate, we will need to shut down soon or else the entire system will be chaotic.”

Roadblocks, office shutdowns

Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi has urged residents to remain at home and not to travel outside Yangon region.

Authorities meanwhile have blocked off minor roads and closed down offices and factories whenever someone has tested positive for the virus.

“One of our staff members tested positive, so the government shut down our office where we have labs for testing samples for environmental conservation,” said Win Myo Thu, a Yangon-based environmentalist.

“There are many companies waiting for the results from our lab,” he added. “Now all of them are affected by the office shutdown.”

Health officials in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, which has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases, said the situation there now appears to be under control  with fewer COVID-positive patients turning up each day and many others recovering.

Dr. Zaw Lwin, superintendent of Sittwe General Hospital in Rakhine’s capital said there have been 675 COVID-19 patients in the state so far, including 21 medical workers who were infected by patients.

Myanmar’s Committee for Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19 has banned domestic travel and instructed residents not to leave their states and regions unless absolutely necessary. Government transportation officials have cancelled domestic flights and express bus service as a further preventive measure.

Reported by Kyaw Lwin Oo for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rfa.org


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India News Brief

18 September 2020

COVID-19 Cases:5,118,2553  Deaths: 83,198

COVID-19 At a Glance 

The new guidelines issued by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 29 August

Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from 7thSeptember 2020 in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA)/ Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with MHA. In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by MOHUA.

Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 101 persons, with effect from 21st September 2020. However, such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.Open air theatres will be permitted to open with effect from 21stSeptember 2020.

Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to 30 September.
Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged. However, following will be permitted, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, with effect from 21stSeptember 2020 for which, SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW):

Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) and similar places remain closed.

According to MHA directive, lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 30th September, 2020.

COVID-19: Highlights 

Religious Places Visit: No Touching of Deity, No Sparkling of Holy Water No Prasada in Temples Wearing Mask Thermal Screening is a must 

Shopping Malls Visit: Elderly People With 65 Years of Age and Children Below 10 Years Are Advised to Stay at Home.

Restaurant and food courts in malls to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity with a mandatory distance of six feet between tables. No common prayer mats, physical offerings like prasad, or sprinkling of holy water, in places of worship. Age and health-based restrictions on stepping out of home. Masks to be mandatory, and the Aarogya Setu app 'recommended' for all.

Use of masks, thermal screening, social distancing and sanitisation, the guidelines  require people above 65 years of age, specially  people with comorbidities, pregnant woman, and children below the age of 10 years, to stay at home. Masks are mandatory at all times, including inside restaurants

Standard Operating Procedures issued by the Indian Health Ministry 

  • International air travel, Metro rail services not allowed 

Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations will not allowed..

According to MHA guidelines, in Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and Union Territories.

There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission or approval or e-permit will be required for such movement

But  states have the freedom to decide on public movement.

How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they a.re developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

Our COVID-19 Stories

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