Myanmar leader calls for international help to contain coronavirus

 Myanmar leader calls for international help to contain coronavirus
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Myanmar’s military leader is calling for international help to contain the coronavirus as the country struggles with a surge in cases and low vaccination rates.

Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said in a speech that international help is needed to control and treat the coronavirus in the country, state media reported on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The general specifically called for help from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other “friendly countries.”

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The call for help comes as only 3.2 percent of the country is fully vaccinated.

The country will be looking for money from the ASEAN COVID-19 fund in order to develop domestic vaccines, with the help of Russia, according to Min Aung Hlaing.

Min Aung Hlaing said the country will be seeking more donations of vaccines as well, after China sent 2 million recently.

State media has reported that vaccine drives have been targeted toward prisons that have seen COVID-19 outbreaks, according to Reuters.

Myanmar has arrested thousands since February after the military coup as citizens have fought back against the military takeover.

Doctors who oppose the government but have been treating coronavirus patients have also been arrested, further complicating the situation.

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The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says more than 70 doctors have been arrested and hundreds have been charged by the military.

Reports say people have been dying from a lack of oxygen and hospitals have been overrun with patients.

There have been more than 4,900 reported coronavirus cases and more than 360 deaths in the country. The true numbers of cases and deaths are likely much higher, Reuters noted.