20 July 2021, Sittwe
The Arakanese people have been urged to stay at home for two weeks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Arakan State, the United League of Arakan (ULA) said in a statement on July 20.
The informal two-week stay-at-home period will run from July 20 to August 4, with the ULA — the political wing of the influential Arakan Army — urging Arakanese people to address the issue of food shortages for people who may face livelihood difficulties during this period.
U Khaing Kaung San, director of the Wun Lark Rural Development Foundation, welcomed Tuesday’s ULA statement.
“I warmly welcome the ULA’s press release. In any case, the Arakanese people believe in the ULA, so they need to follow the ULA’s statement. Another thing is that the Arakan State Administration Council needs to issue a similar statement,” he said.
U Pe Than, a spokesman for the Arakan National Party (ANP), stressed the importance of poverty alleviation during the stay-at-home period, as well as emphasising the ULA’s statement and urging effective coordination among local administrative bodies.
“Since people are poor, there is a question of whether they will be able to earn a living without leaving home. Therefore, it would be good if the Arakanese people could strictly follow the instructions,” he said.
The Arakan State Administration Council, as the state’s military governing body is known, has not yet issued instructions for residents to stay at home in Arakan State.
Ko Zaw Zaw Tun, secretary of the Rakhine Ethnics Congress (REC), said a two-week stay-at-home order would exert some control over the incidence of the virus, but could also have an impact on livelihoods among the grassroots and internally displaced people (IDPs).
“Giving a lot is not an easy task for any single organisation alone. Therefore, ordinary people need to be able to help the poor in their neighborhoods during the stay-at-home period. Other IDPs need to be supported by a combination of international and government officials. The local government needs to allow such support,” Ko Zaw Zaw Tun told DMG.
The Arakanese people should remain homebound during the stay-at-home period and those who do not follow the rules will be dealt with in accordance with the Covid-19 rules, the ULA said in its statement this week.
During the two-week stay-at-home period, the ULA said it would release more updates if needed, depending on the virus infection rate and death toll from Covid-19.