KIO Grapples With Outbreak In Laiza

By Network Media Group
Monday, November 15, 2021

Thousands of infections have been reported in Laiza, and Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) health officials are struggling to contain the outbreak, which has swept through its headquarters near the Chinese border.

The COVID-19 Response and Control Committee needs emergency assistance in the form of medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE) to contain the number of transmissions, which already exceeds 3,000 cases.

“Right now, COVID-19 has spread to every ward, school and dormitory.. We’ve already formed working groups to contain the spread,” Col Laphai Hing Wawm head of the committee told NMG.

Health authorities detected the latest outbreak in the third week of October.

“In October, two people tested positive in Mong Lai Hket. During contact tracing, we confirmed 40 more cases,” he said.

On 2 November, Laiza was locked down and daily testing started, but it was too late as the virus had already spread everywhere. On 12 November, 1,148 new cases were detected, bringing the total number of infections to 3,400.

More than 500 cases were detected in Woichai and 941 in Alam Bum High School. In Jay Yang internally displaced person(IDP) camp, 136 infections were detected and in Hpung Lon Yang camp, 35 IDPs are infected with the virus and in Hpung Mai Yang there are 36.

“We need food, medicine, PPE and other protective equipment. The cooks have to wear PPE when they prepare food for the patients. We also need chlorine for spraying,” he said. Some of the health workers are infected.

Laphai Hing Wawm told NMG that the lockdown has led to food insecurity among residents who weren’t prepared, while some others refuse to follow the regulations issued by the health committee.

One of the committee’s working groups distributed food to more than 4,000 families on 9 November, he said. The other three groups will work at the COVID-19 centre during the outbreak, conducting tests and enforcing health restrictions.