|Local volunteers are distributing free face masks in Sittway on August 23.|
AN. Sittway. August 24, 2020
Every Aspect in Question
The newly infected persons reported by Ministry of Health and Sports are reached to 81 in Rakhine State, mostly the state capital of Sittway, on August 23. Local people and activists have no doubt this new wave of virus infection has politics when government responds with blanket sanctions of imposing curfew law, limitation of airlines, lands and sea transportations shutdown for passengers and goods deliveries, and some internally displaced camps locked up. In addition, the state government ordered to shut down activities of UN agencies, INGOs, and NGOs in Rakhine State while over 200,000 IDPs are very vulnerable.
Local people also wonder why government does not allow WHO and international assistances when the highest outbreaks are taken places in Rakhine State.
So far, the health and sports ministry has not yet identified where the original source of the virus spreading comes from except the female bank staff.
Local news and health ministry reported a female staff of CB bank in Sittway was infected on August 16 after she got common cold and reported to the local hospital. After tested the swap, she was reported positive.
She is well and fully recovered now. When she talked to Khine Aung Kyaw in New York by phone on yesterday she said she is very fine.
All other 80 infected patients are reportedly well, and none is critical and reported death from Covid-19 attack last week.
Rise of Conspiracy Theory of Covid-19 Has Politics
But the state health department and the Union level health expert has not released information yet from where and whom the bank staff originally got that virus.
She does not have any prior contact with the people coming from overseas nor foreigners. She must get the infection locally. But from whom?
The answer is only the God knows.
One of the local analysts rise concern the fastest outbreak of Covid-19 in the state capital and other townships as a whole has hidden hands.
The analyst does not want to publish his name for security reason.
He said, “The military tired first not to proceed election in Rakhine State. They gave Union Election Commission the ballots were not secured and AA might attack on election days. After the military attempt was not successful to thwart the election with the security reason, they are bringing Covid-19 issue now in order to make a new case of abolishing election in Rakhine State.”
Local people reported there are three Covid-19 test equipment in Sittway. One of the test machine is located in the military base. Some say the other two test machines are also managed and monitored by the military.
Our news agency does not have independent verification for the test equipment operation in Rakhine State. But it is true fact that the news of secret test machines operating in the military base is wild-firing among the Rakhine community.
Besides the secret machine, Rakhine people asking where the swap samples were gone unannounced after the UN-WHO vehicle was shot and killed its staff Paye Sone Win Maung near Ramaung Bride on April 20 and the swaps were backout.
Ministry of Health and Sports had never announced to the public the result of the swaps carried by the WHO vehicle whether those samples were tested and shown off ‘negative or positive.’
Local people assumed that the virus may have been generating in Sittway and Rakhine State since the summer, and after the swaps were left untested or unannounced publically. Some believe the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in Sittway are surfacing from the quiet untested original infected persons at large in the community since the summer times.
Covid-19 Outbreak Becomes A Political Issue
Local people have many questions on the quick restrictions in the capital responded by Rakhine State Government (RSG) whether it is genuine or making the public more panics.
State government imposed night curfew in Sittway on August 22. RSG ordered UN, INGOs, and NGOs to stop their activities. Some streets are lockdown. Military vehicles are patrolling in the downtown.
The state government has closed the main food market in Sittway since August 23, and never know when it will reopen.
Buses are stopped going out of Rakhine State to Yangon and other cities. Airlines are not allowed to fly from Sittway except government ran national airline is announced to fly from Sittway three times in a week.
Trucks carrying goods and supplies including medicines, masks, and health related supplies and equipment are stopped.
All IDP camps are close in Mrauk U township, after 2 residents were reported virus infection, who visited to the several IDP camps for food supplies. One of the camps reports the refugees have out of foods and need urgent helps.
On the other hands, military is increasing sending more troops and military supplies to the northern parts of Rakhine State. Navy and army are shelling into villages, and more villagers are fleeing.
Myanmar military supporters reported clashes between AA and Myanmar army took places in Kyatutaw, Maybon, Rathedaung townships and in Paletwa in Chin State last week.
Local news reports today an electrical cable was damaged in Rathedaung township by the artillery fired by Myanmar navy. Some villages and towns are blackout due to the cable broken down.
People out of Sittway and Rakhine State are instructed for 14 days quarantine in other states and divisions. Some people reported that some people are announcing whoever accepting residents from Rakhine for giving a stay at any location is illegal and punishable.
Other words, Rakhine people are barred from traveling to mainland Myanmar.
These restrictions—without prior preparation and effective responses to assist the people who need urgent assistance for foods, heath experts, medicines, and shelters as well as allowing UN and WHO for the assistance during the urgent needs of response to the virus outbreak—hugely impact on general publics.
Rakhine State is already poor and lack of effective healthcare system and medical experts.
All these blanket restrictions by the government are considered harsh sanction and segregation against the Rakhine people as a punishment for supporting Arakan Army that has been fighting for greater autonomy against the central government.
Government Spokesperson Zaw Htay warned during the press conference in Naypaytw on August 21 after 16 cases of virus infections were reported that Arakan Army should not attack and ambush on Myanmar army.
But government army shot and wounded 2 civilians in Ann township. The military fired shells into the village and injured 4 civilians, including a 3 years old child in Rathedaung township last week.
State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi blamed the bank staff for spreading the virus. She said large amount of public funds and human resources (the government) had to spend for responding the virus outbreak in Sittway.
Local people worry they will die more with starvations and shelling than the virus infection since the government does not have any good policy and plan to assist the people while all transportations and trading are cutting off from the mainland Myanmar as well as assistances from UN, INGOs, and NGOs.
They also worry very vulnerable 200,000 IDPs—some are locked down in the camps as quarantine without proper healthcare systems and given medical assistances—are widely transmitted with the coronavirus.
In overall situation, Rakhine people are forced to face off immediate famine and medium term socioeconomic crisis.
Need Urgent Response on Humanitarian Grounds
Local people wish government’s responses with more humanity. They want to reopen 4G internet services. They want to reopen transportation routes for foods, medical supplies, and essential commodities.
They want INGOs and NGOs keep helping over 200,000 IDPs for healthcare, foods, and shelters.
They want more medical doctors, nurses, health workers, hospital facilities.
They want government to stop its military shelling and shooting into villages and residential areas.
In the end, they want to get out of all hardships they are facing on military operations, virus outbreaks, and shortage of foods and medical supplies, in terms of escape from government punishment.
The Infected records are as:
August 16---1 person in Sittway
August 19---3 persons in Sittway
August 20---5 persons in Sittway
August 21---20 persons in Sittway; 1 person from Mrauk U
August 22---16 persons in Sittway , 2 from Thandway
August 22 at 8 pm--- 6 persons; 4 from Sittway and 2 from Mrauk U
August 23 at 8 pm--- 6 persons in Sittway
August 24 at 8 am--- 13 persons in Sittway
August 24 at 8 am--- 5 person in Sittway and 4 persons in Buthedaung
Total Infections=81 person