A Country Overview
The surge in COVID-19 cases across Myanmar during the reporting period is alarming, with very high daily confirmed cases and fatalities. On 1 August 2021, the Ministry of Health and Sports reported cumulative 302,665 COVID-19 positive cases and 9,731 deaths, and 3,480 new daily cases. It is likely cases and deaths are significantly underreported, as home deaths are not included in released statistics. Despite this, the MoHS reported 3,921 deaths between June 1 and July 25 from COVID-19 related complications, with the Delta variant, becoming the dominant driver of COVID-19 cases. National oxygen shortages have become a serious challenge for COVID-19 patients, who are receiving care at home, as the public weakened healthcare system is overwhelmed by the uptick in COVID-19 positive cases. The fragile public healthcare system, rising pharmaceuticals prices, shortages of medicines and other essentials goods, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and oxygen, is putting a considerable strain on the Myanmar population, especially the most vulnerable who have been struggling to survive for the past 15 months, in the face of COVID-19 pandemic induced economic closures, military takeover, civil unrest and recent floods. Crematoriums in Yangon are reported to be working at full capacity. A recent EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) daily flash noted that the military's seizure of medical facilities and equipment, the overall state of unrest in Myanmar, the collapse of the economy and the isolation of the country has led to one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in the world, now compounded by COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the European Commission has mobilised an additional €2 million in emergency assistance to actions helping to fight the pandemic in the country.
The World Bank has warned in a recently published report that Myanmar's economy is expected to shrink by 18 percent this year with damaging implications for lives, livelinoods, poverty and future growth due to the dual crises of the February 1 military takeover and the third wave of COVID-19. The report also warned that one million jobs could be lost this year and the number of Myanmar people living in poverty is expected to more than double by the beginning of 2022 compared to 2019 levels. As of 16 July, 2021 there are 220,000 people displaced internally due to the armed clashes and insecurity since 1 February 2021. Myanmar's humanitarian situation is in a downward spiral with three millon people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection services across the country.