Myanmar reports 23 new Covid cases

Myanmar reports 23 new Covid cases

All were migrants deported from detention centre in southern Thailand

Ko Phyo wears a face mask and shield as he tends to a customer at his mobile barber shop in Yangon. (Reuters Photo)
Ko Phyo wears a face mask and shield as he tends to a customer at his mobile barber shop in Yangon. (Reuters Photo)

YANGON: Myanmar reported 23 cases of coronavirus infection on Friday among a group of people held in quarantine there after being deported from Thailand.

The health ministry said in a statement the group had tested positive while in a quarantine centre in Kayin state in the country’s southeast.

Thant Zin Aung, a lawmaker for Myawaddy township, which borders Thailand, said all 23 had been deported to Myanmar from Thailand on June 8. They had been in a Thai detention centre close to the Malaysian border for visa violations, he said. At least some had earlier been detained in Malaysia.

Malaysian and Thai authorities have been detaining and deporting migrants from Myanmar in recent weeks as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Many are believed to be refugees from the Rohingya ethnic minority, hundreds of thousands of whom have fled a crackdown in Myanmar.

A Myanmar health ministry spokesman for the coronavirus response did not comment when contacted by Reuters.

The 23 cases were the most officially reported in a single day in Myanmar, which has officially recorded only 286 cases of the virus so far and six deaths. Testing has been limited.

Thailand has reported no local transmission of the coronavirus for 25 days, only imported cases. Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Thai government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, told Reuters the Ministry of Public Health had carried out random tests on more than 500,000 people including migrant workers but did not find any infections.

“Myanmar authorities have to investigate from the patients who just returned what their travel history is and where they have been,” he said.

Most curbs on movement within Myanmar have been lifted but on Monday authorities extended a ban on international flights until the end of June. 

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