18th July 2021
Following on from yesterday’s piece on Covid in Myanmar, it is becoming clear that the junta are weaponizing Covid to further impose control and punishment on the population. This wasn’t helped by the arrest of the head of the vaccination programme. The junta are placing as many obstacles as possible in the way of the population getting vaccinations and/or treatment.
Dr. Htar Htar Linn, the head of the Covid-19 vaccination program under the NLD government, has now been infected with Covid-19 in prison. SAC arrested her under fraudulent charges. Myanmar’s talented people and volunteers who spearheaded Covid-19 prevention efforts are now in jail.
As a result of the virtual cessation of medical treatment throughout the country, the bodies are piling up at cemeteries and crematoria.
The situation is getting out of control.
The bodies keep piling up.
Cemeteries in Myanmar’s biggest city Yangon are overflowing with bodies as the country is gripped by a new wave of coronavirus amid the post-coup political upheaval that has crippled the country’s public health system.
Lack of access to medical oxygen is blamed for most of the fatalities, as patients are not getting oxygen support in time after the virus disrupts the oxygen flow to their bodily tissues, charity groups said.
Four major cemeteries in Yangon have seen one of the busiest weeks in their history, cremating over 700 bodies on Thursday alone, and hundreds of bodies on previous days. Since then, about 1,000 people have reportedly died in Yangon alone and the cemeteries can no longer handle the volume of bodies arriving each day.
“We can’t even count the patients who have died of COVID-19 due to lack of oxygen. We are so busy that we have to keep wearing personal protective equipment [PPE] throughout the day,” said a charity worker from Hlaing Tharyar.
As charity groups providing free funeral services are overwhelmed, those providing ambulance services have to help with transporting the dead to cemeteries in Yangon. But even finding enough ambulances has become difficult, the charity workers said.
“In Yayway Cemetery, I saw many bodies being put on the floor [awaiting cremation]. The situation was the same at Kyesu Cemetery. People even have to queue for cremation permits,” said a charity worker from East Dagon.
After the major cemeteries found themselves overstretched, the military regime issued a request asking people to send bodies to the cemeteries nearest their homes.
Cemetery officials confirmed the higher than usual numbers but refused to disclose the exact number of cremations and burials held each day.
“Bodies have to be sent to different cemeteries depending on where the victims live. The number of dead bodies has increased slightly compared to the past,” said a Yayway cemetery official.
Yangon has been hit hardest by the third wave of the pandemic, with more than 10,000 cases being reported in the city, according to figures released by the regime. Actual figures could be much higher, however, as many people are treating themselves at home simply because they cannot get a bed at any of the city’s understaffed and ill-equipped hospitals or COVID-19 centers run by the regime, in addition to the fact that people lack trust in anything connected to the junta.
The regime said the daily death toll was between 100 and 200 nationwide since July 13, but charity workers report seeing hundreds of bodies at Yayway Cemetery alone. A charity group in Yangon said it was handling around 60 bodies per day this week.
Nearly 90 percent of the country has been affected by Myanmar’s third wave of coronavirus infections, with 296 of 330 townships nationwide reporting COVID-19 cases since May, and three deadly variants—Alpha, Delta and Kappa—detected in the country.
According to the junta-controlled Ministry of Health and Sports, over 78,000 cases were reported with 1,405 deaths between Feb. 1 and July 16, with the majority of deaths being recorded since mid-June.Source The Irrawaddy 117th July 2021.
Even the infamous Insein prison is affected. Nearly 50 prisoners held in Myanmar’s notorious Insein Prison have now been diagnosed with COVID-19, with political opposition figures, activists, and an American journalist among the infected.
The most popular local theory is that the junta is weaponising COVID-19 to suffocate the democracy movement and gain the legitimacy and control it craves by deliberately fuelling a humanitarian disaster and then co-opting and controlling the international response which is bound to come from NGOs.
When producing these reports about Myanmar I try to be disinterested and present a balanced view, but the actions of the Junta towards the Covid outbreak is just evil in action. It is totally despicable.
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