State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi says the explosive outbreak of coronavirus infections has been brought under control in the Yangon region.
Addressing her party two weeks before the general election, she said that despite the high numbers of cases and deaths across the country – Yangon’s seen 24,820 cases or about 1,000 a day since the surge began two months ago – the city is loosening lockdown measures.
Suu Kyi said that doesn’t mean people should ignore the “Stay at Home” order which sealed off townships, especially in the Yangon region, where the vast majority of the country’s 1,095 COVID-19 deaths have occurred.
“The order remains and so do the regulations. Please be patient and follow the rules. In Yangon, we can now control the numbers, but it’s only the beginning,” she said. “It doesn’t mean it’s totally under control. Numbers are decreasing, but there are still ups and downs.”
Yesterday saw 986 infections announced along with another 29 fatalities.
She added that, compared to the third waves of infections hitting other nations, Myanmar is neither the worst nor the best.
“If we can control it now, we can say a lot has been improved. According to the charts nationwide, the Yangon region ranks first and Bago follows next. Then, there is Rakhine state, and then Mandalay at fourth,” the state counsellor said. “So everyone in those regions needs to be more careful and stay safe.”
Elections, the first since 2015, are Nov. 8.
Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch slammed the election as “fundamentally flawed,” saying the process was “undermined by systemic problems and rights abuses that will deprive people of their right to fairly elect their government.
“It’s a milestone for Myanmar to be holding a second multiparty election, but however long the lines are to vote, this election will be fundamentally flawed,” said Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director. “The election can’t be free and fair so long as a quarter of the seats are reserved for the military, access to state media isn’t equal, government critics face censorship or arrest, and Rohingya are denied participation in the vote.”
Support remains high for Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy.
The state counsellor said the government is considering how to aid the people and provide further support. She said the public will be informed once a decision has been made.
“I feel very bad that we were not able to support 100%, but we will do our best,” she said.
Among the difficulties still confronting the nation are hospitals and quarantine centers straining to handle the flood of patients. She said new arrangements were being made to speed up hospitalizations of those who need care.
Myanmar has reported 44,774 cases, 1,095 deaths and 24,920 recoveries as of yesterday.