Elderly Myanmar At Shelters Are At Risk of COVID-19

The elderly who are staying in temporary shelters at monasteries in southern Shan State after fighting broke out between two local armed groups in early June 2021 are at risk of catching Covid-19, two aid workers say.
Around 900 people fled the Mong Khun tract for safety in Wan Hway Long village when the armed wings of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP) began fighting.
The fighting has now stopped, and the younger adults of the village have returned home, but about 100 elderly people and children stayed behind because it would be difficult for them to flee again.
An aid worker on condition of anonymity said, “Those left behind need personal protective equipment including masks and hand sanitizer to prevent an outbreak of the virus.”.
We need to raise awareness about Covid-19 prevention and we need medicines and protective equipment,” the aid worker said. “It will be a huge problem if there is an outbreak at such a place since the camps house many elderly people.”
The aid worker said that some of the displaced people have survived strokes.
A further aid worker says 12 people tested positive for Covid-19 this month in Mong Kung, which is about 20 miles away from the monasteries, and those individual donors from the town have been barred from entering shelters.
The junta’s ministry of health said there were 537 positive cases and 12 fatalities in Shan State on Thursday, but the official tally is widely distrusted and locals estimate that the actual number is much higher.
The RCSS and SSPP are fighting because of a territorial dispute over the Loi Hun mountain range in Mong Kung Township.
While the clashes have stopped in southern Shan State, the two groups fought near Nawng An village in Hsipaw Township in the north on Thursday.
The SSPP says it plans to inoculate 500,000 people against Covid-19 in its territory using vaccines from China.

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