Relatives of Covid-19 patient whose case sparked hotel lockdown also test positive

The son, daughter, niece and husband of a Covid-19 patient whose diagnosis led officials to quarantine 200 people at a Yangon hotel have tested positive for the virus, the health ministry said Thursday.

The cases bring Myanmar’s number of confirmed infections to 20, though the country lags far behind much of the world in testing and many suspect the actual number is much higher.

A 45-year-old female employee at the International SOS Clinic in Yangon tested positive on Tuesday after suffering a sore throat, cough and a fever.

Her son is 10 and her daughter, at eight years old, is the youngest person to test positive in Myanmar so far.  

They live in Paukkaung, Bago region, about 180 miles north of Yangon, as does the husband, 47, and the niece, 18.

The ministry statement said the four will be transferred to a hospital for quarantine but did not say if they had any symptoms.

It is unclear whether the SOS Clinic employee visited them in Paukkaung before she was diagnosed.

Dozens of guests and hotel and clinic staff have been kept under quarantine at the Inya Lake Hotel compound where the clinic operates since Tuesday.

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said in a speech addressing the crisis the same day that authorities would impose “community quarantine” in certain areas “in the national interest”.

Her diagnosis came after a French tour guide and three of her clients visited the clinic last month and tested positive for the virus.

On Tuesday morning, a 69-year-old man with underlying nasal cancer died four days after being diagnosed with Covid-19, Myanmar’s first confirmed fatality.

Myanmar was one of the last countries to confirm cases of the disease, which has infected over 950,000 people and killed more than 49,000.

The health ministry has said Myanmar could face a major outbreak after thousands of migrant workers returned from Thailand and Malaysia after losing their jobs as factories shut down.

Myanmar’s National Health Laboratory, the only lab equipped to test the virus, is testing around 80 cases a day, but there are plans to upgrade it and open a new facility in Mandalay.

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