More than 100 junta border police and their family members test positive for Covid-19 in Rakhine State 

More than 100 members of the military’s border guard police and their families in northern Rakhine State have recently tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days, with one sergeant dying from the virus. 

The deceased man was from a border guard post in Ywetnyotaung village, in northern Maungdaw Township. 

His body was brought to Maungdaw District General Hospital on July 3, according to Dr. Nu Kay Thi Zan, head of the hospital. 

“Two people died in Maungdaw. The border guard sergeant arrived dead at the hospital. He was diagnosed with the virus in a post-mortem examination,” the doctor said. 

On the same day, a 60-year-old man from Maungdaw town’s second quarter was hospitalised with the virus and also died.  

Some 105 border guard police and their family members have recently tested positive for the coronavirus in Maungdaw and 50 in Buthidaung. 

On June 28, 91 police and their family members tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Maungdaw. It is believed that they may have contracted the virus while travelling together on a ferry. 

They have been quarantined, according to the chief of the Maungdaw District General Hospital. 

Around 20 people, including 14 border guard police and members of their families, later tested positive on July 3.  

Those infected in Maungdaw include education staff, bank employees, immigration staff, and customs staff.

In Buthidaung, around 50 police and their families who relocated from elsewhere in Myanmar recently tested positive, according to chief of the Buthidaung General Hospital Dr. Saw Min Thein.

Most were tested on July 1, after two police relocating to Buthidaung from Yangon tested positive for the virus on June 29. It was determined that 48 more reportedly were infected. 

“There are no local transmissions in Buthidaung so far. The 50 people who tested positive are border guard police and family members who were transferred from Yangon,” he said. 

Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships have the highest rates of Covid-19 infection in Rakhine State. In Maungdaw alone, at the time of reporting, there were 179 positive cases, 170 of whom were receiving medical treatment. 

Restaurants in Maungdaw have closed except for takeaway orders starting on Saturday, with border trade reportedly closing soon, according to the military council in Rakhine State. 

Throughout the pandemic, banks, schools and border gates previously remained open in the township, which borders Bangladesh. 

“Many people who came from the mainland to work here tested positive for COVID-19 in the beginning of the third wave of the pandemic, and that shows that COVID-19 prevention, testing processes and quarantine processes are not yet effective,” a July 5 letter issued by the Arakan Army (AA), which is active in Rakhine State, stated. 

The letter called on people to adhere to the AA’s health directives. 

A total of 229 people had tested positive for the virus in Maungdaw District by Sunday since May; two people in Maungdaw and one person in Sittwe have died from Covid-19 during the same period.  

Myanmar has reported 165,405 cases of Covid-19 and 3,419 deaths since the virus was first detected in the country in late March last year, according to the junta-controlled health ministry. 

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