COVID-19 emergency response committee holds first coord meeting

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COVID-19 emergency response committee holds first coord meeting

The first coordination meeting of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Containment and Emergency Response Committee was held at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

In his capacity as committee Chairman, Vice President U Myint Swe said the committee was formed with Notification No.53/2020 issued by the Office of the President on 30 March 2020, with him as Chairman and ten other members tasked with 11 duties.

The Vice President said the committee sets off to discover people who have been in close contact with COVID-19 positive persons before they exhibit symptoms. He said the committee will quarantine people returning from overseas in collaboration with Nay Pyi Taw Council and state/regional governments. He said the committee will strictly administer community quarantine if necessary.

The Vice President said the committee will work together with government departments, the Red Cross, civil society organizations and NGOs to provide food, healthcare and moral support in the event of community quarantine. He said they will also collaborate for maintaining security, stability and rule of law in those areas as well.

The Vice President said that in case of community quarantines, the committee will ensure that essential stores and pharmacies remain open and important factories and workshops are operational as well. He said they will also organize delivery services to community based facility quarantine areas and arrange funeral services for those who pass away from the virus.

He said they will uncover and take legal action against those spreading false information concerning the virus on social media and those hiking up prices of medical supplies and basic commodities for personal profit.

He said the committee will also assist in spraying disinfectants in public places, maintaining physical distances, disseminating crucial information and regulations at the ward and village level. He said they will monitor border and international entry/exit gates for illegal travel, security and corruption and administer relevant punishments to those who break the rules. The Vice President said Myanmar had 20 positive cases as of 2 April 2020 and one of the patients passed away on 31 March. Thus, the public was urged to closely follow directives from the Ministry of Health and Sports and other official notifications more than ever, he said. He added that medical staff alone could not handle community based, hotel and home quarantine of people returning from abroad and require cooperation from other officials, volunteers and affiliated organizations.

The Vice President added that every nation right now is facing healthcare issues and economic hardships. He said most nations have arranged stimulus packages for its citizens and Myanmar has also reduced bank interest rates, are issuing low-interest loans, relaxing tax payment periods and reducing collection of licence and permit fees and bridge/tollgate fees.

The Vice President urged meeting participants to discuss openly all issues and processes related to COVID-19 and then commenced the meeting. He responded to the meeting discussions and delivered the closing speech afterwards.

Present at the meeting were Union Ministers U Min Thu, Lt-Gen Soe Htut, Lt-Gen Sein Win, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Thura U Aung Ko, U Thant Sin Maung, U Thein Swe, Dr Myint Htwe and Dr Win Myat Aye, Chief of General Staff (Army, Navy, Air Force) General Mya Tun Oo, Deputy Minister Maj-Gen Soe Tint Naing, permanent secretaries, heads of department and other officials.