Caption - (Photo: Swabs are taken from boatmen returning from Bangladesh.)

Kyaw Myo Aung | DMG
11 July, Maungdaw 

Two boatmen who returned to Maungdaw Township, Arakan State, from Bangladesh after transporting commodities were reportedly found to have been infected with coronavirus, according to the Maungdaw District Department of Public Health. 

The two boatmen left for Bangladesh on July 3 to freight commodities and came back to Maungdaw on July 5, said Dr. Nu Kaythi San, assistant director of the Maungdaw District Department of Public Health. 

“The COVID-19-positive patients are two boatmen returning from Bangladesh. Their conditions are stable and they are receiving medical treatment at Maungdaw Hospital,” she told DMG. 

Testing samples were taken from 17 people who had ferried goods to Bangladesh and returned home earlier this month, with their swabs being sent to the National Health Laboratory in Yangon. Of them, two men tested positive for coronavirus, according to a July 10 press release from the Ministry of Health and Sports. 

U San Thein, vice chairman of the Maungdaw Border Traders Association, said a quarantine center for boatmen returning from Bangladesh was set up near a border trade camp in Maungdaw and coronavirus-positive patients there were strictly prohibited from contact with other people, in order to mitigate the risk of viral spread.  

The Arakan State government has suspended operations at a border trade camp in the state capital Sittwe since June 27, after a man returning to Sittwe from Bangladesh via a trade ship tested positive for COVID-19 on June 15. 

The state government also temporarily halted operations of a border trade camp in Maungdaw on July 3, with the most recent two positive patients being boatmen on the last ship bound for Bangladesh on that day, U San Thein added.  

Fourteen patients have so far tested positive for COVID-19 in Arakan State. The Ministry of Health and Sports said there were 330 coronavirus cases reported nationwide as of July 11.

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