In addition to health staff national involvement is required as COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment is national and State concern as well as social issue

In addition to health staff national involvement is required as COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment is national and State concern as well as social issue

Nay Pyi Taw July 23

COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment undertakings are being carried out vigorously by the central level. People should control themselves from extreme worries with awareness. Positive cases should visit hospitals, quarantine centres or treatment centres for admission in accord with the advice of health officials of regional health centres and clinics, said Chairman of the State Administration Council Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at the fourth coordination meeting on COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment held at the meeting hall of the Bayintnaung Villa in Nay Pyi Taw this morning. Also present were Vice Chairman of SAC Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Ser-vices Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win, SAC members Admiral Tin Aung San, Lt-Gen Soe Htut, Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Thet Khaing Win, Union Minister for Planning and Finance U Win Shein, senior military officers of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army) and officials. Chairmen of Region and State Administration Councils and officials took part in the meeting through Video Conferencing. Speaking at the meeting, the Senior General said the infection rate of the third wave is high at present. There are two or three variants and their infection rate is faster than the previous ones from two to eight times. The central committee as well as the regions and states are conducting prevention, containment and treatment programs dynamically. Special attention must be paid to densely populated areas. But, people must control themselves from extreme worries with awareness. Information about prevention, containment and treatment undertakings in the entire country are being releaseddaily. Regions and states should correctly inform the publicabout the prevention, containment and treatment undertakings in real time. True news will reduce public anxieties.

People are worried about oxygen. Some are receiving treatment at their homes. By doing do, people cannot know the degree of seriousness of the illness. So, they should go to hospitals, quarantine centres or treatment centres in accord with the advice of the health officials of regional health centres and clinics. Symptoms may vary between one place and another. The virus may never subside. So, research and long-term plans are needed. Systematic and step-by-step research must be done not only at the research labs of the Ministry of Health and Sports and Directorate of Medical Services, but also at the hospitals. All available forces should join hands in the tasks. Government is planning to produce vaccines in the country as infection may linger. The country is now producing anti-malaria medicines. The issue was discussed during visit to Russia. Research must be made to produce vaccines that are suitable with the country. Hospitals are treating other patients in addition to positive cases. Although COVID-19 is serious, there should not be setbacks in curing other diseases.COVID-19 prevention, containment and treatment is a national concern. So in connection with health staff absent from work for various reasons, the Senior General said, “Some health staff are absent as they are partaking in CDM. I have invited them for many times. I told them, ‘You all should come back because it is a social affair and national issue and national concern. You should come and help.’ Some return to work, but some cannot for various reasons. Here, I would make further request. All-inclusiveness of health staff and the entire country is required. All should lend a helping in hospitals, health undertakings and MoHS.”

Officials should supervise the maintenance of ambulances to send patients to respective places in time in emergency cases. Specific duties must be assigned. The government is striving to have enough oxygen. It is importing oxygen under special program. Care is needed in systematically using and storing oxygen. It is heard that oxygen pipes were destroyed North Okkalapa Hospital. Some health staff absent from work for no reason secretly stored oxygen cylinders at Homalin Hospital. Such acts are mindless and inhuman. Hospitals must tighten security for health and safety of patients. As symptoms of individuals are different, dissemination of health education on air as well as talks and pamphlets is necessary in accord with the prescribed COVID-19 rules. Thanks to those, people are found to have more seriously followed the COVID-19 disciplines. Till 17 July, public places and worksites had been significantly less and less busy. Educative measures are required for every individual to live and move with a sense of responsibility. Recently, a medical expert pointed out facts about COVID-19 and infection is human to human. The message will be sent again to the regions and states. The aim is to share correct knowledge and reduce concern. Despite repeated request for not spreading rumours as they are related to life and death, such rumours are continuing. So, it is necessary to know correct situations. Only with correct news and situations on the ground, will the central level be able to solve the problem. Real situations in the regions and states must be exposed and presented. The State is trying its best to fulfil all other requirements.

Talking about arrivals of vaccines and other hospital equipment and vaccination measures, the Senior General said: “Yesterday, 736,000 doses of vaccine donated by China arrived. Arrangements are being made to start distribution today or vaccination. More will arrive today and tomorrow. Four million doses are due to arrive up to the first week of August. Continuously, we will distribute. When they arrive in our hands, we will try to administer the vaccine as quickly as possible. As the first and second doses require a two week’s gap, we will try to get more doses in the interval. Without keeping many reserves at risk, we need to administer first doses in large numbers. I want to say this to the chairmen. When it comes to the COVID-19 crisis, we have no limitations from everything to finance. I mean medicine for hospitalization and other necessary equipment such as masks, gloves, PPE, for example. Don’t let patients got disheartened at least for their meals. It is necessary to do so expecting that they can receive treatment with a peace of mind. I want to say to all that we have no limitations at all for this pandemic.”

Next, the Vice-Senior General, council members, union ministers, senior military officers and other attendees reported on over 250,000 COVID-19 cases and over 6,100 deaths since the start of the outbreak, cooperation of health staff and volunteers and possibility tosee infection rate decrease in next two weeks thanks to greater public cooperation, developing of software by Tatmadaw computer experts for computerization of vaccination programmes with the help of information technology, easy use of software and distribution of it to COVID-19 response teams in the regions and states, categorization of priority groups in vaccinations such as priority group for reducing deaths, priority group for preventing infection rate and priority group for preventing national economic impact caused by COVID-19, establishment of more quarantine centers and treatment centers, use of funds for COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment, import of protective and treatment equipment by air, by port and via border routes, the need to scrutinize some health related equipment not approved by FDA, establishment of more oxygen plants inside the country as neighbouring countries also see increasing spread and oxygen needs, measures for fulfilling the oxygen needs in far flung areas, regular operation of airlines, ships, trains and other forms of road transport with reduced schedules depending on number of passengers, dissemination of COVID-19 knowledge on State-owned TV and radio as well as by private broadcasting stations, spreading of fake news by some media using the COVID-19 crisis as a tool and efforts for timely release of correct news, motivation of the public to get vaccinated when more vaccines arrive, Tatmadaw medical corps’ participation in healthcare services and disease prevention and control measures, cooperation with Russia in producing vaccines, the need for region and state councils to timely present correct situations on the ground, the need for cooperation with relevant departments in getting correct news and information, the need to fulfil the needs of quarantine centers and treatment centers as well as healthcare staff and volunteers.

After hearing the reports, the Senior General stressed the need for continuous transport and communications without any interruption. He said health matters for basic staff in the fields of commodity flow, transport and communications must be prioritized. Rumours must be rebuffed and tougher response measures are necessary against the news agencies spreading fake news. It is also required to control medicines in local market being sold at prices far higher than regular. Supervision is necessary to keep and distribute imported oxygen systematically. Testk its necessary for Mrauk-U of Rakhine State must be transported as quickly as possible by Tatmadaw aircraft. It is necessary to release exact lists of SOP for hotel quarantine. Departments need to coordinate with each other to get enough protective medication and oxygen. When vaccinations take place upon arrival of vaccines, first doses must be quickly administered and more vaccines to come must be administered in time. Despite the target to vaccinate 50 percent of the population in 2021, efforts must be exerted to reach up to 70 percent, the Senior General commented.

Then, the Senior General gave a concluding remark saying it was required for social organizations and political parties to participate in measures being taken to curb and prevent COVID-19 with philanthropic sense as they are the organizations in dealing with the public. It will be more effective in taking such measures if other social organizations make collective efforts in preventive and educational measures on the disease. It is learnt that contact numbers at some treatment centres, hospitals and clinics are not available due to various circumstances when help is needed and so, officials concerned need to conduct supervisory action over that situation, he said. Regarding quarantine centres, there are 2,327 quarantine centres available in military and civilian areas and a task is under way for more centres to be added. A total of over 30,000 health personnel comprising staff of the Ministry of Health and Sports and medical experts of the Tatmadaw are giving medical services at the said centres. If more quarantine centres are needed to be opened in regions, it is needed to submit reports to the Central Committee.

It is required for officials to give guidelines on the places where patients with confirmed COVID-19 are accommodated in order that the people could easily know where they are. It is noticed that there was just more than 2 percent of the fatality rate in the previous second wave of COVID-19, and the death rate has been only 2.346 percent in the current third wave. It is needed to systematically perform funeral services for the death. It is required for staff who deal with funeral services, health workers, and volunteers to fully wear protective gear to prevent spread of the disease. It is to say that it is improper that the COVID-19 situation is exploited politically through pages of social media platforms. It will be necessary for respective hospitals to have adequate oxygen. It is needed to take the task to provide oxygen at all times through constantly checking and inspecting systems of oxygen plants. Speaking of the performance by health staff, he said, “Regarding the doctors here, it is necessary that they perform their work happily. I encourage and support them and recognize their performance. Some hospitals have one or two doctors each and some have four to six. Doctors at this hospital must not behave like they have nothing to do with the situation at that hospital. Coordinating with region and state health officers concerned, they could be assigned to the hospitals needed to be reinforced. It could be possible for the doctors to work at other hospitals. There is no reason why they could not work at other hospitals. They will not deny such assignments too. We just need to manage such assignments. Some hospitals have more patients than doctors. It does not mean that they do not have any doctors but a small number of doctors. So, it has to be in balance between the hospital having many doctors and that having a few doctors through the way of management.

The most important thing is that the way of management to handle this situation is to be good. If a management system is good, a job can be handled well and smoothly. To have good management, it is good for all to work together in a way of collective coordination. You cannot work alone. You have to work with all through collective efforts. In this case, it is needed not only to make collective efforts but also to cooperate with the people. Here, what the organizations to be linked are, as I said earlier, social organizations and political parties. It is needed for those institutions to establish a link between administration bodies and the people. If doing so, there will be a lot of functions to come out. It is necessary to support and encourage this.” The Senior General also said that officials concerned of regions and states needed to visit Buddhist monasteries and nunneries to provide them with necessities as the Buddhist lent was observed starting from yesterday. It is needed to take actions giving special consideration to our religion as well as to look and fulfill what other religions need.