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Mandalay closes 41 markets, Dawei shuts down beaches

Mandalay city ordered the shutdown of 41 big markets, and Dawei city in Tanintharyi region closed its famed beaches as Myanmar’s bid to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak leveled-up on Saturday.

U Kyaw San Myint, a member of the Mandalay City Development Committee, said the closure of 41 big markets starts on Saturday evening.

All the vendors in the affected markets agreed to shut down, he said, as the second largest city in Myanmar steps up the fight against the pneumonia-like disease that has spread to 177 countries.

“All the shops will be closed except those selling food and pharmaceuticals,” he said. “Some have their concerns. Some have left their belongings.”

U Kyaw San Myint, however, said that vendors could sell goods from their homes.

He said that in the event of an emergency, the city development committee would cooperate with the local rice merchants’ association to facilitate access to the grains, which is the staple food in the country.

The former royal capital, located along the bank of the Irrawady River in northern Myanmar, has an estimated population of over 1.2 million, according to the 2014 government census.

One of the eight confirmed cases in the country, a 33-year-old Myanmar man who is an American citizen, resides in Chan Mya Tharsi township in Mandalay. He arrived in Myanmar on March 19 and developed symptoms of the disease, including fever, coughing, and tiredness, four days later. Authorities quarantined him at Kandawnadi Hospital.

Tanintharyi Region has no confirmed COVID-19 case, but the regional government ordered the closure of all the seven beaches in Dawei city, to prevent people from staying in crowded areas.

U Ho Pin, the regional minister for the Ministry of Development Affairs and Social Affairs, said the beaches would be closed until April 30.

“Dawei has temporarily closed eight of its most visited tourist destinations,” he said. “It is closed to protect the people from the virus because these are crowded places.”

Of the eight confirmed cases in Myanmar, seven patients have history of recent travel from the COVID-19 infected countries, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and Singapore.

But one patient, a 60-year-old female tour guide, who was among the three confirmed on Saturday, did not have recent history of travel abroad. The Health Ministry said she had been with French tourists, before experiencing symptoms of the disease.

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