Shan State Govt’s Face Mask Campaign Met With Mixed Response

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The Shan State government launched a face mask campaign last week covering 21 townships, including the capital city of Taunggyi to promote awareness of COVID-19 prevention.

Dr Linn Htut Shan State’s chief minister give mask to vegetable seller
Dr Linn Htut Shan State’s chief minister give mask to vegetable seller

Soe Nyunt Lwin, Shan State’s Minister of Planning and Finance said that the campaign aims to target all workplaces, schools and markets—anywhere there are gatherings of people.

“We encourage people to get familiar with wearing face masks since the virus could spread rapidly in populated places,” he told SHAN.

Dr. Linn Htut, Shan State’s chief minister, told SHAN that the masks will be given out free of charge along with information about social distancing.  

Regarding the campaign, Nang Khin Phone Htwe, a member of Taunggyi’s anti-COVID-19 volunteer group, said that the campaign does not appear to be well organized and there is a shortage of people to hand out the face masks in local markets, and the number of masks that volunteers were provided were not enough to meet the need.

“Even though the campaign encourages and welcomes volunteers to help distribute the masks, so many people go in and out of the markets,” she said, explaining that without sufficient manpower at these sites, it was difficult to give out masks to the extent that the government had promised. “The campaign implementation needs to be well planned before launching,” Nang Khin Phone Htwe added.

The campaign is scheduled to include one day of mask distribution each week for one month, starting in eastern and northern Shan State.

Translated by Sai Seng Han

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