States and regions in Myanmar take action to prevent COVID-19

In Sagaing, a region heavily populated by migrant workers, for example, more than 12,000 are under surveillance, said Region Secretary U Tin Maung Swe.

According to the regional government's list, 5,163 people  are being quarantined and monitored within their communities, 7,270 people in their homes and 23 people in hospital as at April 3.

But U Tin Maung Swe noted that many of those under quarantine are not taking government warnings to stay confined seriously.

“As there are many people living from hand-to-mouth in the villages, they are still commuting to work and seeing to other daily affairs despite our attempts to control their movements. Although the shops and businesses understand, it is not the same for the public and that is a real challenge for us,” he said.

Now, the Sagaing regional government has resorted to taking action on those who violate the rules.

Recently, a bachelor and his father from Tamu township in Sagaing were fined K 1 million for holding a marriage ceremony during the surveillance period and will be imprisoned for six months if the fine is not paid.  

U Tin Maung Swe added that “some people are hiding at home after returning from overseas. We had to make orders in each township to report them after arrival,” he said.

Sagaing has so far received K150 million in donations to contain the spread of COVID-19. The region has public funds amounting to K1 billion.

Measures in Mandalay

In Mandalay, the regional government has set up a K1 billion (US$712000) fund to help those who will be adversely affected by an upcoming two-week lockdown from April 7 to April 21, leaving them with no income to support their families. 

Mandalay Chief Minister U Zarni Aung is seeking more donations to boost the fund, which will be aimed at providing food and other basic necessities to those in need during the lockdown. 

"For those who have low income, the region government plans to provide basic food by utilising our K1 billion budget ," he said.

Mandalay on April 3 said passenger travel restrictions will start from April 7 and last until April 21, after which another decision will be made on whether to lift or extend the measures. All hotels and guesthouses will also be closed. 

However, all drug stores, petrol stations, banks, power suppliers , manufacturing factories and paramedical factories have to remain open as usual. Those that do not comply will be subject to government action

The Commodity Exchange Center in Mandalay will continue selling some essential commodities until the COVID-19 crisis ends, said U Set Maung Swe, secretary of the wholesale trading centre.

He said the centre had started selling essential goods to various wards since April 2, and invited other trading groups to join it.

“We’ll continue this program until the situation returns to normal, but we’ll take a break during Thingyan,” he said. “We decided to sell the produce directly to the people in order to prevent the prices from rising.”

U Kyaw Htin, chair of Myanmar Livestock Federation, Mandalay Region, has also confirmed that there is enough supply of eggs and chicken in the region.

U Soe, secretary from Manaw Phyu Blood Donor and Parahita Association in Mandalay Region, said 2000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE) suits will be donated by the  Nay La Foundation.

“The first priority are small Parahita (social) associations in small towns and government dispensaries in rural villages and station hospitals. Second priority are small ambulance associations which provide help to quarantine returnees in wards and villages,” he said.

Those who need PPEs can contact the association’s numbers- 09 751348362, 09 2006423 and 09 43099660

Shan restrictions

Travel to and from Muse in northern Shan State has been restricted since April 1. The township, which is the main trading hub between Myanmar and China, has seen the number of people moving in and out drop to just over 500 on a daily basis, from tens of thousands before.

Melons exported from Myanmar have been temporarily moved to Wun Tine and sold there, and only one driver is allowed to pick up the stock with a truck.

 “We are facing many challenges.  As Muse is a border town, some thousands of people are used to coming and going every day, but the number of people has dropped following the travel restrictions, which are being carried out by both Myanmar and Chinese sides,” said U Thaung Tun from Garuna Volunteer Group.

According to the statements released by the two government departments, the number of Myanmar people who cross the border gate via Muse and work in China is estimated to be about 20,000 every day. - Translated