There's a country where thousands haven't even heard of coronavirus!

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jun 24, 2020, 03:44 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in Myanmar Photograph:( AFP )

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Last June, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi-led Myanmar government cut internet access to nine townships in the area due to concerns that it was being used to inflame clashes between the Myanmar military and insurgents.

Thousands of people trapped near fierce fighting in Myanmar's far west may know nothing of coronavirus thanks to a yearlong internet shutdown.

Last June, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi-led Myanmar government cut internet access to nine townships in the area due to concerns that it was being used to inflame clashes between the Myanmar military and insurgents.

One township its service restored in May, but eight others, with a total population of about 800,000 people, remain in an information blackout.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say the extended shutdown is putting lives at risk, not only because it's preventing people from reporting possible human rights abuses -- but because it has cut them off from public health campaigns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Also read | Internet blackout in Myanmar's Rakhine enters second year

As of Monday, Myanmar had recorded six deaths and 292 positive cases from over 64,532 tests, according to Myanmar's Ministry of Health.

Like many other nations, Myanmar had introduced curfews, bans on large gatherings and a period of quarantine for foreign arrivals in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The government also introduced criminal penalties for people who didn't comply with the rules, including prison sentences for those who broke quarantine orders. At least 500 people, including children, have been sentenced to jail terms as long as one year.

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