Russia Will Send 2 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine To Myanmar

As Myanmar’s military ruler announced, Russia will send two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from this month, as the Southeast Asian country reported another record number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
General Min Aung Hlaing, who led a February 1 coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, said the virus was spreading fast in Myanmar and that Russian defense officials had offered him assistance with vaccines.
“I told them I wanted two million dollars, and they will give it,” he said in remarks carried by army-owned Myawaddy television.
As of Friday, Myanmar reported 4,320 cases, a record for a second consecutive day, and 63 deaths.
Last month, Min Aung Hlaing said he was seeking seven million doses of Russian vaccines. There is also a COVID outbreak inside the country’s prisons, including at the notorious Insein prison, where at least 40 prisoners have tested positive.
During the early stages of the pandemic, many prisoners in Insein jail fell ill and some died, yet there was little COVID-19 testing done for prisoners.
Considering the collapse of testing since the coup and the strike by health workers, many health experts believe Myanmar’s true infection rate is higher than its official one.
It is one of the few countries that has openly embraced the military government, which has been condemned internationally for the coup and the crackdown on pro-democracy groups.
According to the military government, most of those killed or arrested were “terrorists” inciting violence.
According to Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar is eager to produce its own COVID-19 vaccines, and Russia has agreed to cooperate and send a delegation to inspect the facility this month. The speaker did not elaborate.
In addition to protests against the military government in several parts of the country, the COVID pandemic is raging.
As a result of the military’s takeover of power, Myanmar is experiencing its most severe outbreak of infections to date. Efforts to manage the outbreak are being hindered by nationwide political chaos.
On Saturday, masked protesters staged a dawn strike in Launglon in Tanintharyi District to denounce the Min Aung Hlaing and demand the return of civilian rule.
On Friday night, several protesters, including a monk, staged a candle-light strike in Mandalay, Kachin State, calling for the removal of the military dictatorship.
Social media reports that security forces raided a house in Thaketa and reportedly arrested five civilians without warrant, including the mother of a protester and his two brothers.
Duwa Lashi, the acting president of the opposition National Unity Government, said in a statement that the military has been exploiting the virus outbreak to suppress the opposition.
According to the human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 898 people have been killed by the military government since the coup began. 1,963 people have evaded arrest while 5,127 are currently detained or have been sentenced.


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