Drivers Test Positive for COVID-19 in Southern Shan State

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Several commercial drivers with COVID-19 were detected at a health checkpoint in southern Shan last Saturday (October 3).

Drivers were detected at a health checkpoint in southern Shan October 3
Drivers were detected at a health checkpoint in southern Shan October 3

Dr Zawana Ko, deputy head of the Public Health Department for Shan State, told SHAN two transmissions were discovered out of 399 drivers checked between 6:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the checkpoint near Yayyar village, located in Kalaw Township. The information will be posted on the department’s Facebook page.

One driver operates a 12-wheel truck. The other works as a second driver for an express bus line from Taunggyi to Yangon. Health officials say they’ll conduct contact tracing, but since the bus driver had contact with multiple passengers, it’s unclear how officials will contact everyone who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

On September 29, a lorry driver with COVID-19 was detected in the 105-Mile Trading Zone in Muse Township, located in northern Shan State, prompting the state government to restrict buses and trucks entering Shan State. 

Additionally, the government enacted regulations requiring commercial drivers to obtain a health recommendation letter from the Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS). And they have to test negative before they are allowed to enter the state.

Dr Zawana Ko told SHAN health officials there were 3,000 rapid test kits to test drivers in southern and northern Shan State. Using a rapid diagnostic test (RDT), results can be known within 30 minutes but not as accurately as with RT-PCR testing, which takes longer.

There were seven confirmed cases in Shan State on October 2. All of them are being treated at Sao San Htun Public Hospital in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State.

MoHS reported 17,794 transmissions on October 4 since the onset of the pandemic, while 5,195 recovered and 412 deaths occurred.

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