A Failed, Super Spreader State
Since the February coup, Myanmar’s COVID-19 response has collapsed and the situation has spiralled out of control. A UN rapporteur called Myanmar a ‘super spreader state.’ Testing and vaccination have largely stopped and doctors and healthcare workers are afraid of going back to work due to arrests and imprisonment for doctors working in non-government hospitals.
Families across Myanmar are standing in lines for hours to refill oxygen containers for their family members who are struggling to breathe after infection with the virus. Despite these efforts, hundreds of people, young and old, rich and poor, are dying from the virus.
10 new crematoriums have been built in Yangon alone to deal with the huge amount of excess deaths from the Delta COVID-19 variant. Many of these locations are simply re-fitted garbage burners, meaning bodies are being loaded into bins without dignity or respect.
Since the military coup in February, health workers have gone on strike and civil disobedience in state and military hospitals. This has been met with harsh crackdowns from the junta government who routinely imprison and often kill any protesting doctors, nurses, surgeons and EMTs they can find with their network of informers.
The civil disobedience movement coupled with the harsh crackdown on protesters has ground the work of most of Myanmar’s public hospitals to a complete halt. In this environment, many diseases are going unchecked and untreated across the country, including HIV, TB and COVID-19. Mandalay has been placed under strict lockdown as cases spiral and many are watching to see if Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, is next. Though the spread of COVID-19 has led to the deaths of likely thousands, lockdowns could have a greater effect on a country already on its knees from internal war by destroying its economy.
Below is a video following the second wave of Covid-19.