KIO Detects First COVID-19 Outbreak Since Start Of Pandemic

By Network Media Group
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) detected thirteen cases of COVID-19 in its controlled areas since March of this year, raising fears of an outbreak spreading from India, Bangladesh or Thailand.

Col Lahpai Hing Wawm, secretary of KIO COVID-19 Response Committee, which formed in February 2020, said everyone who tested positive recovered and only two cases remain in the hospital, adding that they will soon be released. Until a couple of months ago, Lahpai Hing Wawm told NMG no one tested positive for the pathogen. The cases recently arrived in its area, which he said has been virus-free until now.

“We received information about COVID-19 spreading in other countries and also our country. For example, India is experiencing a third wave. Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Rakhine and Chin states in Burma have all had recent outbreaks. We are trying to restrict travel in our controlled area and testing travellers for COVID-19,” Col Hing Wawm explained.

To control the spread in its area, KIO has implemented measures in line with the World Health Organisation, he said. “Students must wash their hands, wear masks and follow social distancing. Teachers are required to measure body temperatures of their students, while some high school students have already received vaccinations,” he said.

Vaccinations started in February.

To reduce the chance of infection, students are attending classes in the morning or the afternoon. KIO is testing everyone entering Laiza and Mai Ja Yang, the two largest towns controlled by the ethnic armed organization.