Karen State – Two Covid-19 Cases Confirmed, More Quarantine Centers Prepared

Karen State’s first cases of Covid-19 infections have been confirmed by Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sport bringing the country’s total number to 187 cases.

According to the announcement made on Monday May 18th, two males tested by National Laboratory (Yangon) returned positive results. Both men are from Kawkareik Township, Karen State and had recently returned from Malaysia.

Karen State’s Social Affair Minister U Bo Bo Wai Maung confirmed the results to Karen News and said that the two men’s condition are so far not serious.

“We’ve put most of our focus on the Myawaddy’s route [into Burma],” U Bo Bo Wai Maung said. The Mae Sot Myawaddy crossing is where the majority of migrant workers cross from Thailand. U Bo Bo Wai Maung said. “At the moment, both of these patients are in a good condition.”

U Bo Bo Wai Maung said on May 11, two returnees coming from Malaysian tested positive for Covid-19 and were put in a quarantine centre at Taungalay in Hpa-An township where they are now receiving medical treatment at Hpa-an hospital.

In a televised discussion, the Karen State Chief Minister, Nan Khin Htway Myint said enough quarantine facilities and centers had been arranged in preparation for the second batch of 5,000 people returning from Thailand through the Mae Sot/Myawaddy checkpoint.

Nan Khin Htway Myint said. “In Karen State, we have made the effort of setting up quarantine centers to house 5,000 persons. We made this arrangement in accordance with the directive from the Union Minister.”

The Chief Minister said in the televised discussion arrangements for sending back returnees from the quarantine centers in Karen State to their homes would not be difficult if they numbered in hundreds or up to a thousand. However, if numbers reached as many as three thousand, it could present a problem for the Karen State Government.

In May migrant workers who registered with the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok that they would cross through the Myawaddy Border crossing, was 25,748. Returnees from the Bago Region were the highest number, followed by those from Magwe Region and Mon State.

Health professionals said the large number of returnees entering the country through Karen State, would make it impossible for the State to take responsibility for all of them. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor was reported as saying it was necessary for Mon State to share the burden.

Estimate by workers’ right groups, said the numbers of people returning home to Myanmar from Thailand could reach hundreds of thousands. However, current travel restriction in Thailand would prevent large numbers leaving.

On April, Myanmar migrant workers coming through Thailand via the Myawaddy Friendship Bridge (2) Border Crossing point reached as many as 80,000 – returnees who stayed in the Karen State Government quarantine centers numbered only 2,000.

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