Potential coronavirus carrier disappears after fainting in Yangon textile factory

Police and immigration officials in Yangon are searching for a missing man they believe may have the Covid-19 disease. 

Chen Ping Fang, a Chinese national in his 30s, became ill and fainted while interviewing for a job as a cook at the Xin Fa textile factory Saturday afternoon, factory manager Aik Kaung told Myanmar Now on Monday. 

After regaining consciousness Chen was sent to a nearby hotel to rest but, Aik Kaung said, he balked at the price and refused. 

Aik Kaung said Chen then took a taxi to Chinatown, in Latha township, where he said he would stay with a friend. 

News of the incident spread online, catching the attention of officials in Kyauktan township –  home to the Thilawa industrial zone, where the factory is located. 

Local MP Aye Mya Mya Myo told Myanmar Now that officials there contacted Chen and arranged to meet with him Sunday evening at an administrative office in Latha township, near where Chen said he was staying.

Officials waited late into the night on Sunday but Chen never showed, said Aye Mya Mya Myo. He has stopped answering his phone. 

She said Chen travelled to the factory from Hlaing Tharyar – Yangon’s most densely populated township –  but that she had little more information besides that.

“He applied for the job through WeChat,” she said, referring to the popular Chinese messaging app. “All they’ve got is his name and phone number.” 

The factory is Chinese-owned, and it is common for Chinese factories to hire Chinese nationals through the app. 

She said she asked the immigration department for more information on Chen and was told they are still searching for his records.

Myanmar Now is still trying to determine when Chen arrived in Myanmar, where he arrived from, where he is living and where else he may have worked.

Myanmar remains one of the only countries with no confirmed Covid-19 cases. 

As of 8pm Monday, 123 people had tested negative and 10 were awaiting lab results, though only two are suspected of having the disease. 

Earlier that day the government ordered the shut down of all cinemas in the country to help prevent the spread of the disease, which has become a global pandemic. 

On Friday the government announced a ban on all large gatherings – including annual Thingyan celebrations – until at least April 30.

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