Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi urges people to be 'more cautious' of COVID-19: Lawyer

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi urges people to be 'more cautious' of COVID-19: Lawyer

Aung San Suu Kyi (left) and detained president Win Myint (right) during their first court appearance
This handout photo taken on May 24, 2021 and released by Myanmar's Ministry of Information on May 26 shows detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and detained president Win Myint during their first court appearance. (Photo: Handout/Myanmar Ministry of Information/AFP)

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi sent a message to the people from detention on Monday (Jun 28) urging them to be "more cautious" of COVID-19, her lawyer said, as the number of daily cases hit the highest since mid-December.

Myanmar's health system and its anti-coronavirus campaign have foundered since Aung San Suu Kyi's government was overthrown on Feb 1, with many health workers stopping work in protest against the junta.

Lawyer Min Min Soe said Aung San Suu Kyi had asked about the COVID-19 situation when she appeared in court on Monday. Charges against her include breaking COVID-19 protocols. Her supporters say the charges are politically motivated.

"She told the lawyers to be careful of COVID-19, reminding us to wash our hands and wear masks," Min Min Soe said. "She also asked to send the same message to the people to be more cautious of COVID-19."

READ: Former head of Myanmar's COVID-19 vaccination programme arrested

The junta-controlled health ministry reported 1,225 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the highest daily total since mid-December, when Aung San Suu Kyi's government brought the last big wave of infections under control.

Reuters was unable to reach the health ministry for comment on Aung San Suu Kyi's message.

The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar on Monday published 12 points of advice from the ministry on preventing the spread of COVID-19. It urged everyone to comply.

Some health experts say the real rate of infections is likely to be much higher than that indicated by the official figures because testing collapsed after the coup.

READ: Trial of Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to overrun as prosecution needs more time

Testing in the past week averaged about 5,500 tests a day compared to more than 17,000 a day in the week before the coup.

The rate of positive tests rose to nearly 19 per cent on Monday – a much higher rate than before the coup and not far from its peak in October 2020.

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Source: Reuters/mi

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