4th July 2021

Well, it had to happen. With already poor health systems in place and the standards of medical care declining Covid cases are increasing throughout Myanmar. Accurate figures are difficult to come by as official figures seem to be dramatically understated. A training course for promotion candidates in the police force took place in Yangon and the whole cohort of potential captains became infected with the Covid–19 virus.

If this becomes the start of infections spreading throughout the police, it obviously has implications for the number of active staff that they can deploy and also for the spreading of the virus throughout the country.

Amid a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and increasing lockdowns to contain it, Myanmar’s police are among the latest COVID-19 patients.

About 150 police commanders training for promotion at Yangon’s police promotion training center at the Central Investigation Department in Insein tested COVID-19 positive since late June, after an instructor tested positive, according to a police source.

Since late May the military regime has locked down 26 townships in Sagaing, Mandalay, Bago and Ayeyarwady regions and Chin and Shan states.

By July 3, Myanmar had reported 163,087 COVID-19 positive cases with 3,384 deaths. On Saturday, Myanmar reported 1,877 new cases after 9,054 swab tests were conducted, according to the junta-controlled Ministry of Health and Sports.

No previous outbreaks have been reported among Yangon’s police. Yangon has reported nearly 1,200 cases over the past six days. Bago and Sagaing regions have reported the most coronavirus cases, respectively.

“There are 120 police lieutenants from around the country who are receiving training to become captains. Around 114 of them tested positive for COVID-19 and if added to the instructors, there are at least 150 people,” said a police officer in Yangon.

A doctor reportedly gave a sick police captain a COVID-19 test in late June. He said: “Others training with him at the academy and the CID [Criminal Investigation Department] also tested positive. Only six tested negative, out of 120.”

The captain and his team also visited the Shwe Pyithar interrogation center last month. Testing at the center proved negative. It is unknown where the first infection came from.

A total of 96 border guards in Maungdaw near Bangladesh in Rakhine State also reportedly tested positive on July 1.

The ministry announced last month that the new, more virulent coronavirus variants, including the Delta variant first identified in India, have been detected in Myanmar, warning that this will increase hospital admissions and deaths.

On Sunday, the regime locked down Pathein, Myaungmya and Thabaung townships in Ayeyarwady Region. On Saturday it enforced stay-at-home orders on Homalin Township in Sagaing Region, Pyin Oo Lwin Township in Mandalay Region and Nawnghkio Township in Shan State.

On Friday, the regime locked down seven townships in Mandalay City and Thayawady and Minhla townships in Bago.

Source The Irrawaddy 4th July 2021.
Yangon General Hospital. The BFD.
Yangon General Hospital. The BFD.

As can be seen, healthcare in Myanmar is not up to Western standards.

The latest coup casualty lists. The BFD.

Meanwhile, villagers in Tabayin suffered casualties and brutality from the Taliban in a setback for the rebels.

At least 25 people were killed by regime forces in the west of Tabayin Township in Sagaing Region on Friday.

Shootouts took place when the civilian resistance People’s Defense Force (PDF) defended Satpyarkyin village against some 150 artillery-supported regime troops on Friday morning. 

During prolonged shootouts, at least 18 PDF members were killed and more than 10 injured, the PDF announced. The group said four junta soldiers were killed.

The group said at least 40 artillery shells were fired at the village. A boy was detained by troops while trying to escape. 

A villager said more PDF members and four other civilian bodies have since been found, increasing the death toll to 25.

He said the resistance fighters were only armed with traditional firearms and withdrew on Friday night.

“We can’t retrieve all the bodies as regime raids continue,” he said. “Food and medicine are urgently needed for the displaced as they couldn’t take anything while fleeing their homes.”

Thousands of residents of 11 villages, including Satpyarkyin, have left their homes due to the junta’s artillery bombardments.

Tabayin (also known as Depayin) was the site of a massacre by pro-junta thugs who attacked Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s convoy in 2003. About 70 people were killed and others severely injured, although Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s vehicle managed to escape.

She was subsequently detained and returned to house arrest and other survivors were jailed for many years.

Source The Irrawaddy 4th July 2021.
Tabayin Township, Myanmar. The BFD.

Meanwhile, in Yangon and Mandalay, young people are returning from the jungle trained in guerrilla warfare and the use of firearms and explosives. They are preparing for the long haul.

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Police Contract COVID-19

Brought up in a far-left coal mining community and came to NZ when the opportunity arose. Made a career working for blue-chip companies both here and overseas. Developed a later career working on business...