13th meeting on COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment held; Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing delivers the address

13th meeting on COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment held; Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing delivers the address

Nay Pyi Taw October 28

The 13th meeting on COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment was held at the meeting hall of Bayintnaung Villa here this morning with an address by Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister of the Republic of Union of Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Also present were Vice Chairman of SAC Deputy Prime Minister Vice - Senior General Soe Win, SAC members and the joint secretary, union ministers, deputy ministers and senior military officers of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army). Chief ministers of regions and states and officials took part in the meeting through video conferencing.

In his keynote address, the Senior General dealt with the ongoing COVID-19 – undertakings and the drop in infection rate. He said, “We have the central committee to contain the virus. A meeting was held with the involvement of the central committee and important persons for its compactness.

the Infection rate was high in July this year. It was already stated at the previous meeting. On 14 July, the infection rate was 33.17 per cent as 7,083 positive cases

were detected. The highest rate was recorded on 23 July at 40.08 per cent and the number of new cases was 5,506. From that day on, the central committee was holding weekly meetings. The body led by the vice-chair was looking into the requirements every day. Moreover, virus control can be carried out effectively and the government on its part could also effectively carry out its task. At the same time, public awareness was gaining momentum and they were observing the restrictions. There was also collective assistance.

Medicine and protective gear were donated and efforts were made for the availability of oxygen. Well-wishers turned to get foreign supplies in their quest for oxygen. All those undertakings were effective.

Yesterday, the infection rate dropped to just over four per cent.

The government’s target is to reduce the rate to 5 per cent on 24 October and 3 per cent on 31 October. The infection rate was still over 4 per cent.

So, greater efforts are required to further reduce the infection rate.”

Townships in regions and states where the infection rate is high must be prioritized and strenuous efforts are required in prevention and treatment undertakings. Checks will ensure more effective prevention and treatment undertakings.

Unknown infections are dangerous.

Effective supervision is required in townships where the infection rate is high and awareness is still needed in places where the rate is falling. Thanks to stay-at-home, travel restrictions and special holiday programs, infection is now falling.

So, stay-at-home orders were revoked in some townships and arrangements were made to resume the regular office work.

Preparations are underway to reopen schools. The U-12 student vaccination program is in progress.

Prospects are bright that the infection rate, now at over 4 per cent, will further drop. Although the number of travellers was high during the Thadingyut, there was no rise in infection rate thanks to the vaccination program and public discipline observance. At this time when the rate is falling, the resumption of education machinery, production machinery and transportation machinery, which has been permitted under restrictions, must be taken into account, especially in the areas where the rate as low as they cannot be resumed on a national scale at present. Phase by phase arrangements must be made to resume airlines, rail services and bus services and to reopen schools.

The country population, accounting for 35 per cent, has been vaccinated. If the

vaccination continues more, it will cover more than 50 per cent of the population in December.

Likewise, it is necessary to consider the plan to allow visitors from foreign countries. At present, the number of warded patients has much declined and the number of emergency patients and oxygen requirements are down.

It is satisfactory for success based on the concerted efforts of all. The Senior General stressed the need to consider further tasks not to cause infection of the disease.

With regard to the production of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Senior General said, “We are trying hard to produce COVID-19 vaccines. We hold meetings with Chinese authorities as well as Russian ones. Yesterday, the delegation from Russia told me how they can do the production.

So, we need to carry out such tasks as much as possible as it is a long term plan. Now, we purchase vaccines. China sells it. If China does not supply it to me, we cannot reach this situation of controlling the disease.

So, I on behalf of Myanmar express thanks to China for the supply of the vaccines to Myanmar in time. Whatever it may be, the death rate declined in Myanmar due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

Such a rate was high in July.

Yesterday, the death rate showed just two digits, just more than ten. It is very satisfactory.

Some countries face high infection and death rates while our country embraces the plummeted rates for both. It may be based on good fortune.

In fact, we have to live together with this disease. No country says the disease would totally disappear. So, we need to accept vaccines once six months. There remain the children and adults who have not received the vaccine yet. The WHO and the FDA of the United States of America recommended that children can receive the vaccine. So, we will require more and more vaccines. In the coming year, we need to receive a vaccination every six months. So, we need

to produce the vaccine at home without fail. We must produce some four to five million doses per month in minimum. So, we need to carefully calculate such amount.”

Then, the Senior General said the government has spent costs for the production of vaccines as well as for treatments at the hospitals. The government has spent billions of Myanmar kyats on preventive measures of COVID-19 alone. Hence, the people need to live healthy so as to reduce the expenditure of State funds while the government needs to strive for earning income by increasing trade and production. Region and state authorities must encourage manufacturing in their respective region. Special emphasis must be placed on encouraging the individual businesspersons and regions to have a good economy. All need to consider the development of a regional economy.

Member of the State Administration Council, Union ministers, deputy ministers, senior military officers and attendees discussed declining of infection rate in regions and states, efforts to cut off the chains of disease infection, increasing number of laboratory tests for patients, providing treatments to the patients, needs to strictly control the infection of the disease, easing the restriction of stay-at-home in the townships where infection rate of the disease declines, plan to allow holding of festivities, allowing departure and arrival of passengers, running of international flights in the country, resumption of hotel, easing restriction for domestic tours, serving of staff members at offices and departments with full strengths, taking sports trainings under SOP, conducting the vaccination across the nation, future plan and completed situation of vaccination, preparations to reopen basic education schools and universities, installation of RT-PCR machines and further installation in border gate towns, preparations to encounter the fourth wave of COVID-19 and conducting the research on production of COVID-19 vaccines with the use of traditional medicines.

They also highlighted import and distribution of medicines and medical equipment for COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment via aviation service, maritime and border trade posts, raising of health awareness on COVID-19 through newspapers, State-owned TV channels and radios and private TV channels, extended broadcasting of programmes for public recreation, and plan to allow fine artworks and entertainments such as motion picture, theatrical performance and music under the prescribed disciplines.

The discussions focused on infection of the disease in Myanmar and global countries, returning of Myanmar citizens abroad to Myanmar via air, maritime and border gates, conducting laboratory tests for them, finding of virus and treatment tasks, performing the medical examination in respective townships involved in the plan of spot check, vaccination to target groups and further plans, purchase of vaccine, acceptance of donated medicines, connection for

further availability, the arrival of humanitarian aid provided by ASEAN, distribution and plans of more arrivals, and efforts to produce vaccines from China and Russia in Myanmar through the ready to fill scheme.

They also reported on the transport of passengers, medicines and medical equipment by relief flights, re-running of air, water and road transport schedules for passengers and commodities and extended schedules, the establishment of oxygen plants and production of enough oxygen, storage of liquid oxygen in reserves, the establishment of more oxygen plants, distribution of protective masks, face shields, gloves and disposable syringes, progress in vaccination of students aged 12 and above in the regions and states and continued vaccinations, plans to vaccinate students from arts and science universities, institutes, vocational schools and universities under the Ministry of Science and Technology, testing of COVID-19 in the townships that still see infections by designating spot checks and the need for treatment.

After hearing the reports, the Senior General said the outbreak has decreased in the country and if it decreases more significantly in the border regions, commodity flow will get easier contributing to the businesses. It is necessary to send vaccines as quickly as possible to the border areas to curb the spread. The necessities for health workers engaging in the vaccination process must be fulfilled for their physical and mental strengths. Emphasis must be placed on preventing loss and damage to the vaccines due to weaknesses in transport and storage. As the outbreak has been controlled to a certain degree, and the open season has come, ceremonial events usually attended by crowds such as wedding receptions and religious ceremonies should be allowed in accord with the COVID-19 rules and disciplines.

Sports and games also should be allowed from a health perspective in accord with the COVID-19 restrictions. In bracing for the fourth wave of the pandemic, preparatory measures must be taken for enough workforce of health staff, adequate supply of medical equipment and oxygen at hospitals

and treatment centres. In the permission to extend air travel schedules, domestic airlines must be first allowed in line with the SOP while international airlines should be allowed in accord with the restrictions depending on the outbreak of respective countries. It is also necessary to continuously encourage the production of the COVID-19 vaccine from traditional

herbs. With the declining outbreak, the art industry should be allowed to resume in accord with the COVID-19 disciplines.

Relief flights were conducted to bring back the returnees, medicines and medical equipment and they need to be extended. Purchases of more vaccines must be made to meet the target of vaccinating 50 per cent of the population by 2021. Then, the Senior General gave the necessary instructions.

In his concluding remark, the Senior General said despite in decline outbreak, figures must be correct and correct analysis is necessary. Since we took State responsibilities, we have been releasing correct news and information about the COVID-19 outbreak, quantity of testing, confirmed cases and deaths.

Although cases have decreased in the second and third waves, monitoring must continue and even basic disciplines must be followed. Reports must be made if there are any suspected cases in the wards and villages.

Supervisory measures must be taken to prevent the use of easily available but non-prescribed medicines for the treatment.

Only the medications prescribed by licensed drug stores and clinics should be used.

Health education campaigns must be conducted for the local people to know the side effects of non-prescribed medicines.

There must be monitoring of disease outbreaks and spread in the wards and villages of various townships and supervisory measures.

Vaccinations must also cover the EAOs-controlled regions, border areas and ethnic regions.

Effective health education is required about COVID-19 as well as other diseases.