Myanmar junta has turned coronavirus into a weapon
A migrant worker returning to Myanmar from China has her temperature taken, as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid-19. Picture: AFP
Myanmar is in the grips of a silent health crisis, with Covid-19 sweeping the population, a doubling of tuberculosis and Malaria cases and a million children going without critical immunisations as the junta continues to hunt down pro-democracy medics and block supplies from vulnerable areas.
Health advocacy groups, including Physicians for Human Rights and Results International, have reported at least 100 attacks on clinics operated by medics involved in the civil disobedience movement, and multiple cases of military looting medical equipment donated by aid organisations. Non-government health agencies are running out of medicines and equipment, with aid groups unable to get permits to bring in life-saving Covid supplies.
Critical health programs have also been suspended.
The combination of a military crackdown, international sanctions, armed conflict and the strike or dismissal of hundreds of thousands of government workers who participated in the CDM has also prevented the distribution to areas most in need.
Dozens of doctors and nurses are in detention, including the head of the country’s vaccination program. Another 600 are in hiding with warrants out for their arrest for participating in the pro-democracy movement that continues to cripple the military junta since the February 1 coup when it toppled the government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Many more have refused to work for the junta while providing health care through private and charity-run clinics.