Residents of Lay Myomyit Valley don’t have food or medicine after vital transportation routes have been shuttered as part of a partial lockdown in Rakhine State during an outbreak of coronavirus.
Lwi Thawng, who lives in Ko Pe Chay village, told Khonumthung News all the roads to his village, in between Rakhine and Chin states, have been closed for five days. “We depend on Mrauk-U for food and other supplies, but now all entry and exit points are closed and we have run out of food and medicine in our area.”
Over 15,000 people live in over 60 villages in Lay Myomyit Valley. Before the lockdown, locals would travel by boat to Mrauk-U and Sin-U to buy supplies.
After the COVID-19 outbreak in Rakhine State, Bo Lum, from Than Htaung village, said all entry points for every village in the valley were shut to prevent infections.
“Nobody travels to Mrauk-U and Sin-U these days. We are afraid of COVID-19 spreading in our area and why we locked our villages. If anyone wants to go to Mrauk-U, they can but they cannot return to Lay Myomyit. They have to stay in a quarantine facility, and that’s why nobody dares to travel to Mrauk-U.”
Hundreds of cases were detected after a bank employee tested positive for COVID-19 in Sittwe on August 16. According to the government’s Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS), there are 361 cases in Rakhine State.
Nationally there have been 938 confirmed cases, while 357 of these have recovered and six died.