Myanmar, Rakhine State: COVID-19 Situation Report No. 08 (1 September 2020)

Situation Report
Originally published


This report, which focuses on the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Rakhine, is produced by OCHA Myanmar covering the period of 10 to 31 August, in collaboration with Inter-Cluster Coordination Group and wider humanitarian partners. The next report will be issued on or around 18 September.


• A total of 393 locally transmitted cases have been reported across Rakhine between 16 August and 1 September, bringing to 409 the number of cases in 16 townships since 18 May. Across the country, 887 cases, six fatalities and 354 recoveries have been reported.

• The recent surge in local transmission includes COVID-19 positive cases among the personnel of the United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organizations (INGO).

• No cases have been reported in camps or sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) as of 31 August, while displaced persons who had been in contact with COVID-19 confirmed cases were placed in quarantine and tested.

• Sittwe General Hospital, where most COVID-19 confirmed cases are being treated, remains the primary treatment facility for Rakhine. Efforts to increase treatment capacities continue.

• The Rakhine State Government has introduced various COVID-19 measures since 16 August, including a state-wide “stay-at-home” order and other measures aimed at preventing the local transmission.

• Humanitarian actors are assessing the impact of the recently introduced COVID-19 measures on operations, including COVID-19 preparedness and response activities.


SURGE IN LOCAL TRANSMISSION: Since 16 August, when the Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS) confirmed a new COVID-19 case in Sittwe - the first case of local transmission reported in almost a month country-wide - the number of locally transmitted cases has continued to increase in Rakhine State. Since 18 May, a total of 409 cases have been reported across Rakhine, including 14 with international travel histories. Between 16 August and 1 September, 393 locally transmitted cases were reported in 16 townships of Rakhine State, with most cases reported in Sittwe. On 31 August, the MoHS reported 107 COVID-19 cases – the highest reported in a single day so far – most of which locally transmitted. As of 31 August, there had been no confirmed COVID-19 case in camps or sites for IDPs. Countrywide, there have been 887 cases, six fatalities and 354 recoveries.

TESTING CAPACITY: A laboratory in Sittwe General Hospital (SGH) is operating two 16-modules GeneXpert machines and one 2-modules GeneXpert machine with a maximum testing capacity of up to 100-110 tests per day.
On 22 August, GeneXpert machine, as well as ventilators and laboratory staff comprising of technicians, microbiologists and anesthetists, arrived in Sittwe. The establishment of a PCR testing machine in Sittwe is foreseen as part of the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Plan (CERP). Specimens are currently tested and confirmed in Sittwe before being approved by the National Health Laboratory (NHL) in Yangon.

Nationwide, seven laboratories, including NHL, are operational in Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Mawlamyine and Kengtung cities, testing between 1,100 and 2,000 specimens per day. A total of 157,843 tests had been conducted as of 31 August; however, the total number of people who have been tested is not available. Over 7,600 “persons under investigation” have been tested so far.

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