Coronavirus in Myanmar Photograph:( AFP )
While locals were running away from the health volunteers last year, the Covid-infected nation is now relying on them to help in the cremation of coronavirus victims during another outbreak
As the country faces another coronavirus outbreak, locals have started looking for volunteers clad in white PPE kits to perform the last rites of the Covid victims.
Last year, Myanmar locals started providing free taxi services for those who were infected by the deadly coronavirus. These volunteers were readily taking victims to hospitals and quarantine centres. However, locals were hesitant about taking help from them.
Things seemed to have changed now as locals are turning towards these volunteers for help as Myanmar has observed an alarming increase in coronavirus cases.
"Before... people were scared to see emergency teams wearing PPE," a volunteer in Hle Guu township north of Yangon told new agency, AFP. "But now, they are looking for us. The situation is upside down."
Last week, Tun Khine (a businessman who spoke under a pseudonym) took seven dead bodies to a crematorium ground. Of these seven dead bodies, one was a confirmed case who died in the hospital and the other six were suspected to have been infected from the virus and had never been taken to the hospital.
While the world was fighting coronavirus last year, Myanmar was battling a military coup. Since the Myanmar military ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and took control of the country, thousands of health workers went on strike to protest the rising violence in the country.
Since the coup, all medical workers have been scared of getting attacked by the forces. Khine’s team, too, has voiced this concern. "Of course we are afraid," he said. "But our bigger fear is our people being infected and risking their lives."
At the end of every shift, the team members spray each other with disinfectants to protect themselves and their family members from the deadly coronavirus. However, they have vowed to continue helping fellow citizens in this battle against COVID-19. "More people are going to die if we stop working because we are afraid," Khine said.