National Unity of Government published an open letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the international organizations and the international community, requesting an urgent humanitarian assistance for the people of Myanmar in response to the escalating current COVID-19 crisis today. We are always on the fence about the United Nations on how much they can actually help us, and whether they would actually take the time to stand up and do something for us as well. But there is one thing from the open letter that the international community probably should pay attention to, and that is, “Myanmar will likely become a nexus for the regional spread of COVID-19, potentially including new variants, if the international community does not act now.” Historian Thant Myint-U echoed the same sentiment, stating that a failed state can’t bring COVID under control and possible new COVID variants from Myanmar could threaten the world.
The crisis we are facing internally is no longer a domestic issue with the military regime now using COVID-19 pandemic as a weapon of war against their own people, which is crystal clear at this point. Just last night around 9pm, many reports from ambulance driver and local volunteers came out that ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients were not allowed into the North Okkalapa hospital in Yangon. DVB News reported that the security forces were pointing guns at the ambulances and the volunteers, and despite having necessary documents for the patient transferring process, about 10 ambulances were turned away and the patients had to return home without any treatment.
To add onto this news, Myanmar Now reported today that there are many COVID-19 patients in Yangon who are dying at their homes without anyone knowing. In eastern Dagon Myothit Township of Yangon, a 70-year-old father was found dead lying on his bed while lifeless body of his 40-year-old son was found sitting in the living room with the Oximeter beside him in their house on July 16, according to the local funeral home. On the same day in another part of Yangon in Sanchaung, township firefighter found a 70-year-old woman who lived alone in her apartment dead. A similar instance like this was reported in Magway Region as well. A relief volunteer had to break through the roof of a lock home of a COVID-19 positive civilian when they checked on the patient, and discovered a lifeless body in the bed.
These are just the instances that are being reported. We are sure there are many more causalities like this because the military regime keeps on denying treatment to COVID positive patients and robbing the oxygen supplies from the public while the state media continues to air segments of quarantine centers that the military are preparing, which showed just empty beds in big hall. These photo opportunities for the generals are so unnecessary, especially when we are hearing news of people dying in their own homes because of their incompetence.
Instead of using their brainless lackeys in the fight against the deadliest war our nation is currently facing, the military regime continued using them to terrorize civilians in places such as Katha and Shwebo townships in Sagaing Region. Four villagers from Shwebo Township were shot to dead by the security forces on the night of July 17 as they were on their night-watch duties. At the same time in Katha Township, residents said a group of security forces on motorbikes came into the wards of Katha town and cursed at the people, and was randomly shooting at everything they saw. It was not a one-time instance, the residents said. It has been a week that residents of Katha were subjected to this night terrors. DVB News also reported today that Pyu Saw Htee group and the local People’s Defence Force from Sagaing Region’s Mingin Township were clashing on July 17, and that members of Pyu Saw Htee had been robbing rice, oil and valuables from the villagers at gunpoint.
Come rain or come shine, the protesters across the country continued to take to the streets to defy against the military regime. As usual, Mandalay, Sagaing, Magway and Tanintharyi Region, and Kachin State braced the rain, the sun and the threat of both security forces and COVID-19 third wave, and marched through the streets to show the world that we are all determined to fight against the military regime even in the midst of a pandemic. Myanmar diaspora from New York also came out this weekend, asking the international community to legitimize the National Unity Government.