Coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said at the seventh coordination meeting on COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment held on August 9 that importing vaccines for the country’s 50 million population will make the country poor, and thus the country needs to produce both COVID-19 vaccines, and medicines in the future.
“In the future, we must produce both vaccine and treatment medicines for the COVID-19 in the country. Otherwise, the country will go poor if we keep buying vaccines from other countries for 50 million population of our country,” the coup leader said, adding that the COVID-19 vaccines can be produced from medical herbs by traditional medical practitioners.
The junta leader also boasted that the number of COVID-19 positive cases has decreased after the seventh meeting of the COVID-19 citing some information provided by the junta-controlled Ministry of Health and Sports, whose official data shows 337,561 recorded cases and 3,680 deaths. However, many experts believe that it is significantly underreported and local media reported that the crematoriums in Yangon are overwhelmed due to many dead bodies.
Now, the regime has allowed private companies and associations to import vaccines and provide vaccination services.
Meanwhile, the World Bank forecasted that the country contract around 18 percent in Myanmar’s 2021 Fiscal Year (Oct 2020-Sep 2021), with damaging implications for lives, livelihoods, poverty, and future growth due to the ongoing political turmoil and a rapidly-rising third wave of COVID-19 cases.
An 18 percent contraction, coming on top of weak growth in FY2020, would mean that the country’s economy is around 30 percent smaller than it would have been in the absence of COVID-19 and the military takeover of February 2021. Around 1 million jobs could be lost, and many other workers will experience a decline in their incomes due to reduced hours or wages. The share of Myanmar’s population living in poverty is likely to more than double by the beginning of 2022, compared to 2019 levels, the World Bank’s report said.