Myanmar reports first detection of new Covid-19 variants: Ministry

Laboratory tests reported 11 cases of new Covid-19 variants including one in commercial capital Yangon. PHOTO: REUTERS

YANGON (BLOOMBERG) - Myanmar announced on Tuesday (June 15) the first detection of three new variants of Covid-19 in five cities across the nation, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Laboratory tests conducted by the Defence Service Medical Research Centre under the Ministry of Defence reported 11 cases of new Covid-19 variants - one in commercial capital Yangon, four in its second-biggest city Mandalay, three in southern Myeik, two in north-western Tamu and one in Kalay near the Myanmar-India border.

"In terms of mutated strain, we have found out from the tests that two people were infected with the Alpha variant, five with the Delta variant, and four with Kappa," the ministry said in a statement. It also added that one of the newly infected is a Yangon resident who returned from abroad.

The ministry warned the people to follow Covid-19 restrictions strictly in order to prevent the outbreak, as the new variants like Alpha and Delta may lead to higher rates of infection and death toll.

At a meeting on Tuesday, Health Minister Thet Khaing Win asked health workers to urgently prepare hospitals, treatment and quarantine centres in cooperation with the regional authorities, and to send much-needed equipment including rapid antigen test kits to mostly infected townships and remote areas.

Myanmar reported 225 new cases on Tuesday, putting the total at 146,051 Covid-19 cases, including 3,248 fatalities.

The nation has suspended some domestic flights since late May, in addition to the ban on visitors from neighbouring India and Bangladesh since April 27. The country has administered over 3.2 million doses of AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines so far.

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