State Counsellor’s televised message to public on prevention, control and treatment measures against COVID-19

Dear citizens of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar,

“I’m reporting that we need to collaborate in the containment and prevention measures against the COVID-19 and to prepare for the health and socio-economic challenges we are facing ahead, in the best way.

“The WHO has declared the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic. They further said that the viral disease can be contained systematically. A national-level central committee was formed over a month ago to meet the health and socio-economic impacts upon our people. The committee, since then, has been working hard to prevent and solve health, social and economic difficulties and has been closely monitoring the situation.

The Ministry of Health and Sports is taking the leading role to contain and prevent the outbreak and spread of the deadly infectious virus in Myanmar and has been issuing health awareness information and guidelines to the people. Travellers from the regions, where the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 are mostly seen, are also restricted from entering Myanmar for the good of our people, in a real-time manner.

After making assessments on possible economic impacts, the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry,the Ministry of Commerce and other relevant ministries worked together on the prevention plans. Our government has made arrangements to publish the activities of the ministries on this issue.

After the announcement of WHO, a central committee formed on 30 January was elevated to a national-level body on 13 March for making effective responses to possible consequences in Myanmar and other areas amidst outbreak of COVID-19. I’m the chairperson of this committee. The President’s Office also made a public announcement on 13 March to ban festivals and entertainment events (including construction of water-throwing pandals for the Myanmar traditional water festival) to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country. Moreover, the relevant departments under the Ministry of Health and Sports, and the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture are making announcements and issuing instructions as needed.

The government will reduce tax and interest rates so that the people will not suffer, to prevent unemployment, to continue operating factories and to have least impacts on the economy of the country. Loans with minimum interest rate and tax exemption plans will be arranged for the most vulnerable businesses in CMP sector, hotels and tourism and SMEs due to the COVID-19. The 2 per cent advance tax on export items will be exempted until the end of this financial year.

A fund for prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19 will be raised with public contributions, and that people are urged to make their contributions to this fund. I wish to inform the public that the government is focusing on long-term national interests while making measured steps to meet the needs of the prevailing situation.

As mentioned above, the ministries will continue to issue announcements, explain objectives of the instructions and adopt required plans in the future in a consistent manner.

“I’d like to present an important point that we’ve been containing and preventing the COVID-19 as much as we can to mitigate its negative impacts upon our nation and people. It’s a simple and clear fact that people are the key; No matter how the government adopts sound policies, public participation is pivotal to achieve success.

I have said many times that we need to get the people involved. Please mark my words concerning the COVID-19.

“With respect to health, people are the key to follow the health ministry’s guidelines and to avoid public gatherings. People are the key to prevent rumours and misinformation in the wake of the COVID-19. People are the key to avoid panic-buying and stockpiling the goods. There have been no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in our country until the present moment. The Ministry of Health and Sports has been releasing real-time information and announcements.

“If the public gets fully involved in the containment and prevention measures against the viral disease, our implementation will surely be successful. The people are the main strength of the country. Ours is not a superpower. We have been tackling the peace, development and democracy-building processes simultaneously. We can prove that we can meet the challenge of this pandemic and compete with the resource rich big countries by showing them that we have the full strength of our people, “People are the key”.

Dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, I would like to express thanks to the people of have stood with our government in the interest of the nation and collaborated with us; organizations, civil service personnel, workers, businesspersons, intellectuals and intelligentsia at different walks of life. We will keep the people informed of the measures taken by our Government as well as what we are appealing to the people. For us to be successful in this national task, “‘The people are the key”.