Khin Tharaphy Oo | DMG
26 September, Sittwe

The owner of the Myint Myat Maung private boarding school in Sittwe’s Baukthisu Ward is likely to be prosecuted under the Natural Disaster Management Law for allegedly operating without a permit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

U Maung Maung Thein, the school owner, is accused of failing to abide by instructions issued by the local government to curb the spread of coronavirus.

A letter purportedly signed by the chairman of the Township-level COVID-19 Control and Emergency Response Committee and signaling intent to prosecute the school owner was recently posted online.

The letter said five female students and one teacher were found to have been infected with the virus because the boarding school was operating although private schools, boarding schools and private tuition classes had been notified to suspend classes to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The chairman of the Township-level Covid-19 Control and Emergency Response Committee sent a letter to the chairman of the Law Enforcement and Prosecution Committee on September 25 to charge the boarding school owner under the Natural Disaster Management Law.

The coronavirus-positive students at the school are from Kyauktaw, Paletwa and Buthidaung townships, said U Maung Maung Thein. Schools were ordered to close as Arakan State was hit with a second wave of COVID-19 beginning in mid-August, but he said the students in question were unable to return to their homes.

“I accepted them [the students] because it was not possible for them to return home. The students’ parents also asked me not to send them back home due to armed clashes. A female teacher looked after the students upon their parents’ request. They were not taught school lessons,” U Maung Maung Thein explained.

He is currently under quarantine and has not been contacted by authorities regarding any charges against him, he added.

As of September 26, there were 1,245 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arakan State, with 698 recovered patients discharged from hospitals and three dead.

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