MYANMAR-HEALTH-VIRUS-FOCUS
This picture taken on July 13, 2021 shows a Buddhist monk walking past people waiting to fill empty oxygen canisters up outside a factory in Mandalay, amid a surge in Covid-19 coronavirus cases. - The spike in coronavirus cases is the latest blow to Myanmar, already reeling from a February coup and a bloody crackdown on dissent that has killed over 900 and gutted the economy. (Photo by STR / AFP) / TO GO WITH Myanmar-health-virus-oxygen, FOCUS

On Wednesday, the United Nations warned of a health and humanitarian catastrophe in Myanmar (Burma), in light of the military coup, calling on the international community to act urgently.

And UN considered that “the increasing rise in cases infected with the emerging coronavirus, in Myanmar, in light of a collapsing health system, and the lack of confidence in the military council, are factors that could lead to more massive loss of lives in the country,” and that the situation constituted the “perfect storm,” according to the United Nations’s independent expert on the situation of human hights in the country, Thomas Andrews.

“There is an urgent need in Myanmar to save lives,” Andrews said in a statement that the country’s population is denied access to health care, and “the international community must act.”

The special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar reiterated his appeal last week for the establishment of an emergency coalition for the people of Myanmar to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the country, amid reports of a severe shortage of vital medical supplies and oxygen.

Last week, the Special Rapporteur stated that the capacity for vaccination and testing across Myanmar is very limited, explaining that among those tested, an alarming percentage (26 percent) reported that they had contracted the virus.

Andrews warned that the country is at grave risk of becoming a super-spreader of the coronavirus pandemic, affecting untold numbers of people inside and outside the country.

In its statement, the United Nations stressed that the military council “lacks the resources, capabilities and legitimacy” to control the crisis.

“The crisis in Myanmar is particularly deadly due to the prevailing distrust of the junta,” Andrews said, calling on the international community to help “form a politically neutral body to coordinate the virus response that includes a vaccination program that the people of Myanmar can trust.”

He stressed that “Member states, international organizations, regional bodies, and NGOs that are willing and able to provide much-needed assistance, must do so before countless numbers perish and Myanmar becomes a super-spreader of this deadly virus.”

The Special Rapporteur also deplored the situation of the most vulnerable communities in Myanmar, including prisoners held in overcrowded facilities.

“Myanmar prison inmates, including thousands of political prisoners who have been arbitrarily detained since the coup in Myanmar, are at grave risk, some of whom see their detention as a death sentence,” Andrews said.

Nearly 6,000 people have been arbitrarily detained in Myanmar since the military overthrew the elected government and seized power on February 1, in addition to that, nearly 900 people, including children, have been killed, and countless wounded, according to the UN.

© The Eastern Herald