Myanmar on Friday reported 4,320 cases, a record for a second day in a row, and 63 dead, as protests against the coup continue.
Myanmar’s military ruler has announced that Russia will send two million doses of coronavirus vaccine starting this month, as the Southeast Asian country reported another record number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 .
General Min Aung Hlaing, who led a coup against the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, said the virus was spreading rapidly in Myanmar and that senior Russian defense officials he had been told he was helping with the vaccines.
“I told them I want two million and they will donate,” he said in statements from Army-owned Myawaddy Television.
Myanmar reported 4,320 cases on Friday, a record for the second day in a row, and 63 deaths.
Min Aung Hlaing said last month that he was looking for seven million doses of Russian vaccines.
Myanmar is in the midst of its most serious wave of infections to date, with efforts to manage the outbreak hampered by political chaos nationwide in the wake of the army’s seizure of power.
There have also been reports of an outbreak of COVID in its prisons, including the well-known Insein, where at least 40 prisoners reportedly tested positive on Thursday.
In the early part of the pandemic, many inmates at Insein Prison became ill and some died, but there was little evidence of COVID-19 for the inmates.
In general, some health experts said Myanmar’s actual infection rate is likely to be much higher, given the collapse of evidence since the coup and health workers who joined the strikes in protest.
The Moscow hug
Russia is one of the few countries that has openly embraced the military government, which has been condemned worldwide for the coup and the deadly crackdown on pro-democracy groups.
The military government said most of those killed or arrested were “terrorists” who incited violence.
Min Aung Hlaing said Myanmar was eager to manufacture its own COVID-19 vaccines and that Russia wanted to cooperate and send a delegation to inspect its production plant during this month. He did not elaborate.
As the COVID pandemic rages, protests against the military government also continue in various parts of the country.
Protesters in Hpakant, Kachin, marched against the Myanmar military junta this afternoon (July 9).
– Myanmar Now (@Myanmar_Now_Eng) July 9, 2021
In Launglon Township, Tanintharyi District, masked protesters staged a dawn strike on Saturday to denounce Min Aung Hlaing, while demanding the return of the civilian government, according to a message posted on social media.
In Pyikyi Takon in Mandalay, Kachin State, several protesters, including a monk, held a candlelight strike on Friday night demanding the withdrawal of the military dictatorship.
The photos also show women from Wuntho Township in Sagaing District praying for peace in Myanmar and protesting against the military leadership.
Detentions have also continued, with reports from security forces storming a house in Thaketa and arresting five civilians without order, including the mother of a protester and her two brothers, according to social media.
In a statement on Friday, the acting president of the government of the National Opposition Unit, Duwa Lashi, said the army “has used the virus outbreak as an opportunity to suppress the opposition and has no sympathy for the suffering of the public “.
According to the human rights group, the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners, since the beginning of the coup there have been 898 people killed by the military government. Currently, at least 5,127 are detained or have been sentenced, while 1,963 have avoided arrest.