REUTERS: Myanmar's military ruler said on Friday (Jul 9) Russia had agreed to supply two million doses of coronavirus vaccine from this month, as the Southeast Asian country reported another record in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Min Aung Hlaing, who led a Feb 1 coup against Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government, said the virus was spreading fast in Myanmar and that senior Russian defence officials had told him help with vaccines was on the way.
"I told them that I want two million and they will give," he said in remarks carried by army-owned Myawaddy television.
Myanmar reported 4,320 cases on Friday, a record for a second successive day, and 63 deaths.
Min Aung Hlaing last month said he was seeking seven million doses of Russian vaccines.
Myanmar is in the midst of its most serious wave of infections to date, with efforts to manage the outbreak hampered by nationwide chaos in the wake of the military's coup.
Some health experts say Myanmar's real rate of infection is likely to be far higher given a collapse in testing since the coup and health workers joining strikes in protest.
Russia is among the few countries that have openly embraced the military government, which has been condemned globally over the coup and the deadly crackdown on pro-democracy groups.
The junta says most of those killed or arrested where “terrorists” who were inciting violence.
Min Aung Hlaing said Myanmar was keen to make its own COVID-19 vaccines and Russia wanted to cooperate and send a delegation to inspect its production plant during this month. He did not elaborate.