Coronavirus testing collapses in Myanmar after coup

(Reuters) - Testing for coronavirus has collapsed in Myanmar after a military coup prompted a campaign of civil disobedience led by doctors and mass protests swept the country, official testing figures showed.

Reuters February 10, 2021 00:11:07 IST
Coronavirus testing collapses in Myanmar after coup

Coronavirus testing collapses in Myanmar after coup

(Reuters) - Testing for coronavirus has collapsed in Myanmar after a military coup prompted a campaign of civil disobedience led by doctors and mass protests swept the country, official testing figures showed.

The number of daily tests reported late on Monday stood at 1,987, the lowest number since Dec. 29, compared with more than 9,000 a week earlier and an average of more than 17,000 a day in the week before the Feb. 1 coup. Since the coup, tests per day have averaged 9,350.

The number of cases found on Monday was just four - compared with an average of 420 a day in the last week of January.

A health ministry spokesman declined to comment. In a statement on Monday, the ministry appealed to health workers for help with a vaccination campaign that began late last month.

It said all staff members "are strongly urged to return to their duties with taking the wellbeing of patients into consideration."

Myanmar has suffered one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Southeast Asia with a total of 31,177 deaths from more than 141,000 cases.

Health workers have been at the forefront of a civil disobedence campaign against the coup, stopping work to demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and recognition of her party's big win in a November election.

Suu Kyi's government had instituted lockdowns which helped reduce the spread of the virus and the number of fatalities from their peak in October, but also had a hard economic impact on one of the region's poorest countries.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, whose removal and detention of the widely popular Suu Kyi prompted mass protests, promised in his first televised address on Monday to make the fight against COVID-19 a priority - including vaccinations for all.

The army seized power alleging fraud in last year's election, a claim the electoral commission had rejected.

(Writing by Matthew Tostevin; editing by Richard Pullin)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.