EXCLUSIVE JURIST – Herself now ill with COVID-19 amid third wave of Myanmar pandemic, one of our law students reporting for JURIST from Yangon comments on situation there, economic fallout of the COVID outbreak and how the junta military actually made matters worse.
All we hear is people are trying to get oxygen every day and they have to wait a very long time, even at midnight. People advertise where we can get oxygen every day, but there are still many deaths from lack of oxygen.
But commodity prices are rising here. For example, the normal price of an egg was less than 150 kyat, and now it is around 300 kyat. But in the countryside, they are not as expensive as in Yangon. Even in Yangon, they are not the same in all townships. As far as I know, in some areas in North Dagon and North Okkala we can still get them reasonably priced and but like in Yankin, Kamayut and some townships which are closer to the city center and seem to have rich people, the prices are really high. But we can’t say for sure, sir. Even in the same bazaar, different sellers quote different prices. We just find the one that sells at the normal price. We can get the exact price from the supermarkets. But we haven’t been going for almost a month.
There are a lot of side effects due to the Junta. But what is happening these days is mostly because of covid. People panic buy and almost all patients eat at least two eggs a day [to bolster their immune systems, common advice given by local doctors]. They are affordable especially for day workers. So the more people buy, the higher the prices.
But I will also put the blame on Junta. In the first and second waves, things weren’t like that at all. Because of them, we couldn’t go out when we wanted to and so the patients’ family members had to suffer the most. There are so many patients who have died during curfew hours. Apparently there are many doctors who practice MDA and not all of us receive as much care as in the past. I have a friend who volunteered at the AYA quarantine center during the second wave before the coup. The process was perfect and they helped many patients. They chose many volunteers and made them live in hotels for free and gave people the best possible care. Now every time I speak to her she says there is no way the government will help and the quarantine center is gone, not totally though.
Another reason is that the military occupied oxygen spaces and took everything with them. Then they showed on television that they were trying to help the citizens, but only their families understood them. Many citizens have to die because of them.