23 July 2021, Mrauk-U
Three novices from the Sasana Linkarya Monastery in Arakan State’s Mrauk-U Township tested positive for coronavirus on July 22. The three novices range in age from 9 to 12.
In recent days, a monk at the monastery tested negative for Covid-19 after he became sick, but three novices tested positive for the virus, said U Kaythara, an abbot of the monastery.
“Medical checkups were conducted by staff from the Department of Public Health (DPH) on July 22. A monk tested negative for Covid-19 after he suffered an illness. But three novices who came in contact with the sick monk were found to be infected with the virus,” the abbot said.
The three novices are being kept in isolation at the monastery because the health department instructed senior monks not to send virus patients to the hospital if they were in good health and not in critical condition, the abbot added.
“The virus-infected novices are kept in isolation at the monastery because they are in good health,” said U Aung Than Tun, a philanthropist from the Karuna Hline Blood Donors Association in Mrauk-U Township.
The monastery where the virus was detected has been placed on lockdown since July 22, according to the township health department.
U Aung Than Tun appealed to locals to help as much as they could, as the monastery has been locked down.
“When the monastery was locked down, it was difficult for the monks to go out and collect alms, which could make it a little more difficult to eat. We are spreading the word to young people about the issue,” he added.
There are about 90 monks at the monastery whose daily alms-collecting has been disrupted.
Ko Khaing Min Shin, a young philanthropist from Mrauk-U, is urging people to donate alms for the monks through his Facebook page.
For the monks altogether, breakfast costs K50,000 and a daytime meal costs K100,000, according to Ko Khaing Min Shin.
As of July 22, Mrauk-U Township had recorded 50 coronavirus cases, with three deaths, according to figures released by the Arakan State military council.
Since the third wave of coronavirus hit Myanmar in May, Arakan State had reported 1,928 cases and 83 deaths as of July 22.