COVID – 19 News Letter for October 2020
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has been monitoring and documenting cases related to COVID-19 Pandemic since April and releasing a monthly COVID Newsletter. According to our documentation in October, a total of (136) people have been charged and convicted in Burma during the pandemic.
As of 16 August, COVID-19 infected cases have reappeared in Rakhine State; the outbreaks have also been reported in Yangon and other states and regions. The second wave of COVID hit Yangon most, and townships in Yangon Region are now ordered to stay at home due to the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths increase highly. Up to October 31, a total of 52,706 people had been infected and 1,237 had died.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic is currently increasing in Myanmar. COVID-19 found in prisons is a difficult and uncontrollable situation. After the Ministry of Health and Sports confirmed that 16 people had been infected in the Tharyarwady prison on 8 October 2020, 252 people including inmates and prison staff who came into contact with infected patients were then tested, and 157 inmates and 2 prison staff were found to have COVID-19. In addition, 37 people including detainees and staff have been infected in a cell at Pyinmana Police Station, and 106 people including inmates and prison staff have been infected in Maubin prison. This is a concern for inmates in prisons and labor camps, and the overcrowding in prisons could make it difficult to control the spread of the disease if one prisoner got infected. Therefore, authorities must stop unwanted arrests for the time being. Also, we suggest authorities need to be transparent about the real prison situation (for example: How many inmates are infected? How are authorities trying to prevent infection? Etc…).
The detailed information is shown below:
(63) persons have been charged under Section 25,26,29 and 30 (a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law while (20) persons are serving sentence in prison under Section 26 and 29.
In addition to this, (52) were punished under Section 188 of the Penal Code for failing to abide-by the night curfew. And, (1) person has been sentenced under Section 13(1) of the Emergency Provision Act, and (1) person has been charged under Section 333 of the Penal Code.
The quarantined and quarantines centers of each state and region of Myanmar
The number of quarantined people and quarantine centers in each state and region of Myanmar as monitored and documented by AAPP is shown in the table below:
Infected with COVID19 in prisons and cells
158 prisoners and 2 prison staff infected with COVID-19 in Tharyarwady Prison
On 22 October 2020, when the COVID-19 Swab Team of the Public Health Department, Tharrawaddy District tested 252 people including prisoners in Tharyarwady Central Prison, Bago Division, 160 of 252 people were found to have COVID-19. On 8 October 2020, the Ministry of Health and Sports confirmed that 16 people had been infected in the prison. Officials said some inmates and prison staff who contacted infected patients were then tested. When the Public Health Department tested 240 prisoners from ward no.11, 10 prisoners from training school and 2 prison staff, 140 of 240 prisoners, and 1 of 10 training school prisoners and 1 prison staff had COVID-19.
Approximately 40 detainees infected with COVID-19 in the cellell at Pyinmana Police Station
When a detainee locked in a cell at the Pyinmana Township police station was found to be infected with COVID-19 in October, detainees and policemen who had contact with the infected detainee were isolated and tested. 30 detainees and three policemen were infected, said Dr. Myat Wunna Soe, deputy director-general of Nay Pyi Taw Public Health Department. At present, there are a total of 37 detainees including the first infected detainee in the cell at Pyinmana.
COVID-19 cases in Maubin prison reaches 106
Prison authorities found 106 people including inmates, prison staff, and their family members from Maubin prison infected with the COVID-19 virus after taking swab tests up until 29 October 2020.
An inmate receiving medical treatment at Maubin hospital on October 23 was found infected with COVID-19 virus on 25 October 2020, then the authorities took swab tests on 258 people who lived with the positive inmate on 26, 27, 28 October 2020.106 out of 258 people were found to have been infected with COVID-19 virus. 5 inmates who finished their sentences, 3 prison staff, and 4 prison staff family members were kept at a temporary hospital in a technical institute. The rest of them were kept at an isolation ward in the prison and Maubin District Public Health Department is taking care of them.
Four people who led a protest at Myawaddy Bridge No.2 were charged
On 16 October 2020, Ko Thar Gyi, Kaung Pyae Son, Zaw Oo, and an unknown name man were charged under Natural Disaster Management Law by Dr. Myo Zaw, who is the Officer of the Health Department, Myawaddy District, Kayin State for protesting at Myawaddy Bridge No.2. On the morning of 11 October 2020, the four people led a protest at Myawaddy Bridge No.2 and blocked the road with cars to prevent the Thai trucks entering the Burmese border from the Thai side.
People who contravened night curfew are imprisoned
In October 2020, in Mawlamyine Township Court and Bilin Township Court, Mon State, nine people from Mawlamyine and two people from Bilin Township were sentenced to one-month imprisonment each under Section 188 of the Penal Code for contravening the night curfew.
Restaurant owner and two customers arrested and charged in Ann Township
In No.3 Ward, Ann Township, Rakhine State, the restaurant owner, Daw Khin Thidar, who allowed customers to eat at her restaurant, and the two customers were charged under section 25/30(A) of the Natural Disaster Management Law by Dr. Aung Kyaw Moe on 7 October 2020. While the members of the COVID-19 Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Committee were checking the restaurants to see whether they were selling takeaway or not, Daw Khin Thidar sold the food and allowed the customers to eat in her restaurant, a resident said.
In Thandwe Township, 26 people were sentenced to one-month imprisonment for contravening the night curfew
In September and October, 26 people were sentenced to one-month imprisonment under section 188 of the Penal Code at Thandwe Township Court for contravention of the night curfew in Thandwe Township, Rakhine State. They were charged by the Thandwe General Administrator.
In Taung Gok Township, 15 people were sentenced to one-month imprisonment for contravention of the night curfew
In September and October, 15 people were sentenced to one-month imprisonment under section 188 of the Penal Code for contravention of the night curfew in Taung Gup Township, Rakhine State.
Three women charged for not abiding by lockdown in their home
In October 2020, Ma Ohnmar Htay, Ma Htet Htet, and Ma Thidar Aye were charged under section 26/30(a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law at Hlaw Kar Police Station for not keeping to lockdown at their home, Kyaung Gon Village, Shwe Pyi Thar Township, Yangon (north) District, Yangon Division. Their father’s test result was COVID-19 positive so authorities ordered a lockdown at their home and the members of the Health Department told them to stay at home quarantined, yet they did not obey and destroyed the ropes which were tied up for lockdown.
Owner and manager of the Music Zone charged under Natural Disaster Management Law
On 29 September 2020, U Zaw Min who is the owner of the Music Zone and the manager were charged under section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law by an officer from the Thingangyun Township Health Department, Yangon Division. On 3 September 2020, after two employee women came into contact with COVID-19 positive patient No.741 and then became infected themselves, a further 92 employees would then get infected with COVID-19. Even though the owner of the “Music Zone” agreed to follow the rules and regulations of the Township COVID Committee, he did not do so. Therefore, the owner and manager were charged.
Man commits suicide in Dagon Seik Kan Township
On 2 October 2020, a man, 23-year-old, who lives in Myitta Road, 60 Ward, Dagon Seik Kan Township, Yangon Division committed suicide after his family were facing subsistence problems and difficulty finding a job.
After arguments between the wife and husband about the milk-pounder for their three-month-old son, the wife went out to buy milk-pounder for her son. While she was out buying milk-pounder, her husband committed suicide.
According to a neighbor, the man who committed suicide is a mason and his family moved here one month ago.
Man charged for leaving quarantine center to meet with lover
According to the Chauk Myoma Police Station, Magway Division, Than Myint Htun who was kept in a quarantine center was charged under section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law by the U Saw Mya Phaung, officer of the Natural Disaster Management Department on 12 October 2020 for secretly leaving the quarantine center to meet with his lover on the evening of 11 October 2020
Three people charged for disrespecting Seik Phyu Joint Checkpoint officials
On the evening of 1 October 2020, while officials from Seik Phyu Myoma Police Station and Seik Phyu Township were serving their duty at the checkpoint near Anawrahta Bridge, a tricycle ridden by Thet Ko, Pyae Son Aung, and Kyaw Myint Aung from Chauk Township arrived. Authorities then asked them to show a travel permission document, they did not cooperate and were rude to the authorities. U Nay Lin who is the Deputy Director of the Seki Phyu Township General Administration Department therefore charged them under section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law at Seik Phyu Myoma Police Station on 2 October 2020.
In Chauk Township, a man kept in home quarantine committed suicide
On 8 October 2020, a 25-year-old man committed suicide in home quarantine, 14 Yartaw Ward, Chauk Township, Magway Division, according to the Yartaw Village Administrator. Police believed that the victim committed suicide due to mental disorder from being kept alone in home quarantine, and a case was filed under number 11/2020.
His family informed the COVID committee because they did not know where he returned from, so he was sent to a house for quarantine by the village headmen and his parents, a member of the village administration said.
Person arrested and charged for verbally abusing and antagonizing the village administrator and his members
On 16 October 2020 in the evening, the village administrator and his members were announcing the COVID-19 statement issued by the Township COVID Prevention and Control Committee in Shwe Pyi Gon Village. It was here when Ko Wai Phyo Aung (aka) Thar Gyi who lives in Shwe Pyi Gon Village, verbally abused and antagonized the people with a spade. He was therefore arrested in the night and charged under section 26 of the Natural Disaster Management Law by Yadashe Township Administrator U Min Naing Aung at Yadashe Myoma Police Station, Bago Division.
Eight people were charged for beating quarantine center volunteer
In October 2020, U Thein Htun, 43-years-old, and 8 others were charged under section 26/30(a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law at Taungoo Township Police Station for beating U Aung Zaw Lin who was serving as a quarantine center volunteer at the old TTC School, Taungoo Township, Bago Division.
The case occurred on the evening of 25 September 2020 when the family member of U Thein Htun sent him a food parcel whilst he was quarantined at the center. U Aung Zaw Lin did not allow him to go outside to take the parcel by himself. So, Aung Zaw Lin was beaten by U Thein Htun and 8 other people.
Two quarantined people charged under Natural Disaster Management Law for fleeing from the quarantine center
On 25 October 2020, two men were charged under section 25/30(a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law for fleeing from the quarantine center at the Zivita Dana Sangha Hospital, Chan Mya Tharsi Township, Mandalay Division. On 11 October 2020, two men who were kept in the quarantine center fled, authorities looked for them and they found them between 50th street and 51st street, 199th road. After they finished their quarantine period they were charged and investigated, according to No.10 Myoma Police Station.
Three drivers imprisoned for transporting workers from Yangon
On 27 October 2020, three drivers who had worn PPE were sentenced to three months imprisonment under section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law at Meikhtilar Township Court, Mandalay Division for driving 25 workers in three cars from Yangon to Sagaing Division
The three drivers were taking the 25 workers to Depayin Township, Sagaing Division from Hlaing Thar Yar Township, Yangon Division, when they were checked at Meikhtilar Township on the evening of 11 October 2020. Authorities took the 25 workers to their town and three drivers were quarantined at Basic Education High School No.1, Meikhtilar Township. The three drivers were then charged at Meikhtilar Myoma Police Station. The Government has placed restrictions on travel during the COVID-19 period.
Seven people charged for violating Natural Disaster Management Law
In October, Ko Htan Swan Paung, Ko Htet Naing Win, Ko Win Sann Kyaw, Ko Ye Yint Win and Ma Sann Tin (aka) Ma Tin, Ko Yan Kho Linn and Ko Kyin Nay Kyaung were charged under section 30(a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law for carrying illegal goods along the Burma-India border, Tamu Township, Sagaing Division. On the morning of 20 October 2020, a joint group led by Police Officer Kyaw Kyaw Win from Tamu Myoma Police Station arrested the seven people for smuggling the goods to India from Myanmar. They were arrested and charged for contravening order No. 30/2020 issued by the Sagaing Region Government and sending goods to the other country.
Man charged for infecting his 5 family members
On 7 October 2020, Zaw Moe Win (aka) Zin Myo Naing who returned from KyiMyinDaing Township, Yangon Division to Kan Thar Gon Village, Shwebo Township, Sagaing Division was charged under section 30(a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law. U Thaung Han who is the chairman of the Natural Disaster Management Committee made the charge because the returnee did not inform the committee of his return trip, and for not entering quarantine and infecting his 5 family members.
Likewise, last week in Sagaing Division, a man from Kyaymon village, Monywa Township lied about returning from Yangon, he told authorities from another area. He did not enter quarantine and even his mother became infected with COVID-19, yet no action was taken against him according to Monywa Township Administrator Khin Maung Soe.
KTV employees and some customers sentenced to 1 year and 6 months imprisonment
When the authorities checked on the KTV, it was opened illegally during the COVID-19 period near the crossroad (Ahlon Triangle) in Monywa Township, authorities found three customers who were singing in the KTV room and four women employees of the KTV shop. Authorities arrested and charged them under section 776/2020 at Ahlon Police Station, Monywa Township. Later on, they were sentenced to 1 year and 6 months imprisonment at the Monywa Township Court on 8 October 2020.
Two people charged for carrying illegal goods along the Burma-India border
On 28 October 2020, Lar Pat Maw Yar, 29-years-old and Lun Min Htan, 30-years-old who live in Saw Bwar5 Ward were sentenced to six months imprisonment under section 30(a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law for carrying illegal goods. On the morning of 27 October 2020, while a joint group that works to prevent smuggling illegal goods along the Burma-India border were serving their duty, they checked a bullock cart ridden by two men and found two gasoline pails with them. Therefore, they arrested and charged them for failing to abide by the order No. 30/2020 issued by the Sagaing Region Government.
Imprisoned for verbally and physically abusing COVID-19 prevention officials
On 28 October 2020, Ann Htun, 24-years-old, lives in Myoma 13 Ward was sentenced to 1-year imprisonment under section 26 of the Natural Disaster Management Law at Tamu Township Court for verbally and physically abusing Ward Administrators U Lun Naim Man, U Htan Pee, and U Shwe Toe who are tasked with preventing the COVID-19 outbreak.
On the evening of 26 October 2020, while a group led by Ward Administrators U Lun Naim Mam, U Htan Pee, and U Shwe were serving their duty at Myoma 13 Ward, Ann Htun verbally abused and punched U Lun Naim Mam. Therefore, he was charged at Tamu Myoma Police Station, Sagaing Division.
COVID-19 positive patient imprisoned for failing to comply with specified orders
On 27 October 2020, the first COVID-19 positive patient of Tamu Township was sentenced to six months imprisonment under section 13(1) of the Myanmar Immigration (Emergency Provision Act) for illegal entry without a passport or permission and a further six months imprisonment under section 30(a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law for failing to comply with the specified orders issued by Sagaing Regional Government at Tamu Township Court.
Three people charged for carrying illegal goods along the Burma-India border
On 20 October 2020, Paung Kho Mam, Ma New Pi, and Htan Yar Lun were sentenced to six months imprisonment under section 30(a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law for carrying illegal goods.
On 19 October 2020, while a joint group that works to prevent smuggling illegal goods along the Burma-India border was serving their duty, they arrested two people who smuggled blankets in the morning and a person who smuggled a motor machine in the evening.
Five people charged for carrying illegal goods along the Burma-India border
On 19 October 2020, Nin Pi (aka) Thel Thel, Lin Gol Lar, and Nin Kho Tin (aka) Snow were sentenced to six months imprisonment under section 30(a) of the Natural Disaster Management Law at Tamu Township Court for carrying illegal goods. Thang Gol and Khaing Yem are under 18 years old and so charged as children,they were handed over to their parent’s in accordance with Section 89 (c) of the Child Rights Law.
On the evening of 12 October 2020, while a joint group that works to prevent smuggling illegal goods along the Burma-India border was serving their duty, they arrested them for smuggling medicines and decorative vases.
Man who was quarantined at Kale Public Hospital charged
On 3 October 2020, Sai Myat Thu, whilst quarantined at the Kale Public Hospital was charged under section 333 of the Penal Code at Kale Myoma Police Station, Sagaing Division. On 2 October 2020, Sai Myat Thu stabbed health workers and authority figures with scissors. A member of the police force was injured in the rib and a volunteer got injured in the ear.
Six residents charged for obstructing the quarantine process for returnees from Yangon
On 19 October 2020, six residents were charged under section 26 of the Natural Disaster Management Law at Pantanaw Myoma Police Station for trying to stop returnees from Yangon quarantining at the Basic Education Primary School, Ywar Thar Gyi Village, Pantanaw Township, Ayeyarwaddy Division, according to the Pantanaw Township Administrator. Ye Htut, a member of the community-based organization said they had obstructed the quarantine center in order not to infect the local villagers so authorities should not prosecute them.
22 campaign organizers from NLD and USDP charged in Pathein Township
On 22 October 2020, 22 campaign organizers from NLD and USDP were charged under section 29 of the Natural Disaster Management Law at Pathein Myoma Township Court for gathering supporters and rallying around Pathein Township, Ayeyarwaddy Division. Around 10,000 NLD supporters and some USDP supporters rallied around Pathein and nearby villages on 17 October 2020.
For more information:
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)
Aung Myo Kyaw In-Charge of AAPP Yangon Office +95 (0) 428117348
Zaw Moe In-Charge of Documentation and Research Department
Deputy of Foreign Affair +95 (0) 979 588 1016
Paing Yii Hmway Deputy In-Charge of Documentation and Research Department +95 (0) 997 303 1050
Download link for COVID-19 News Letter in October (English)