Covid-19 cases surge past 100, concentrated in Yangon

In less than one month, Myanmar has reported 107 infections and five deaths from Covid-19. 

Since its first case was announced, on March 23, the National Health Laboratory in Yangon has tested 4,152 samples. 

Three are currently in intensive care units at Wai Bar Gi hospital in Yangon. Five have recovered. 

The youngest to be infected was an 18-month-old from Pabedan township, in Yangon, according to the health ministry. 

At least 45 infections in Yangon have been linked to religious gatherings in Insein and Mayangone townships, epidemiologists at the health ministry said Saturday. 

Those 45 have had close contact with more than 270 people, they added.

Last week, Yangon police charged four of the events’ organisers for defying a nationwide ban on large gatherings announced on March 13.

Among those charged was David Lah, a popular Christian preacher widely criticised for preaching anti-LGBT and Islamophobic rhetoic. 

They face up to a year in prison.

The March 13 ban did not specify how many people constitute an illegal gathering, but on April 16 the health ministry announced another ban on gatherings of more than four people. 

Some of the events organised by Lah had gathered between 15 and 20 people, an employee at a church where one event was held told Myanmar Now last week. 

Of the country’s 107 cases, 87 – including four of the five deaths – occurred in Yangon region.

Yangon authorities imposed a curfew on Friday from 10pm to 4am. It went into effect Saturday night. 

On Saturday the health ministry ordered severe restrictions on the movement of residents in seven Yangon townships. They are Bahan, Insein, Hlaing Tharyar, Mayangone, Pabedan, Shwe Pyi Thar and South Okkalapa. 

Residents can only travel to and from work and must wear face masks at all times when outside. 

Additionally, one member from each household is allowed to go out to buy groceries and two can travel together for medical emergencies. Anyone needing to travel in larger groups must get permission from ward administrators.

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