The Singapore government will be contributing 200 10-litre oxygen concentrators to support the people of Myanmar in this Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Wednesday, July 28.
The oxygen concentrators will be channelled through the Singapore Red Cross (SRC), which has launched a public appeal to deliver humanitarian assistance for communities in Southeast Asia and South Asia through the "Covid-19 International Response Fund".
The SRC will work with the Myanmar Red Cross Society to distribute the oxygen concentrators to affected communities in Myanmar, MFA added.
This will supplement Singapore’s earlier contributions of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines, diagnostic tests, surgical masks, hand sanitisers, and other medical supplies to Myanmar.
“Singapore stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar in their fight against Covid-19,” the ministry said.
“These contributions, as well as donations organised by private entities and the Myanmar community in Singapore, attest to the strong mutual support between the peoples of Singapore and Myanmar in overcoming the shared challenges of Covid-19.”
Shortage of oxygen supplies killing Covid-19 patients
As Covid-19 cases rise in Myanmar, and the death toll climbs, the country is in desperate need of oxygen for its patients, local media The Irrawaddy reported.
It’s also facing a shortage of beds in hospitals and other medical supplies.
Doctors and health professionals had been targeted in the military’s crackdown of dissidents, issuing warrants for their arrests due to their participation in anti-coup protests.
Some Myanmar people have taken to social media to convey their need for oxygen, and to plead for help.
Anti-junta protesters in Kale, Sagaing, today (Jul 21). Some carried banners asking, “Let us breath freely”, alluding to the oxygen shortage faced by many COVID-19 patients in Myanmar. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/WXgoW3Ljsg
— Myanmar Now (@Myanmar_Now_Eng) July 21, 2021
Help from the military, which seized control of the country in a February coup, appears to be inadequate.
They have even taken to state-controlled newspapers to urge locals to turn to Buddhism in order to offset the effects of the disease.
Despite brutally cracked down and shoot by Military Junta in Mandalay, Monks of Mandalay Sangha Union continued to protest against the terrorists junta. #July28Coup #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/qPoS6JHv4J
— Kay April Nyein (@kay_aprilnyein) July 28, 2021
The regime was accused of restricting access to oxygen among the people as well, ordering private oxygen suppliers not to refill oxygen cylinders for individuals, and hoarding much needed supplies.
This is potentially detrimental for patients as they have to resort to treatment at home due to the difficulty in getting admitted to hospitals.
Many locals also believe the military is deliberately cutting oxygen supplies in order to kill them off indirectly .
In addition, they claimed that soldiers threatened to shoot at oxygen stores should they sell oxygen tanks to the people.
On July 12th, one of the soldier from SAC Myanmar threatened to shoot at the Oxygen store for selling oxygen tanks. pic.twitter.com/GG8iG6Kgmh
— Candy Khine (@CandyKhine7) July 12, 2021
According to Reuters , Myanmar is reporting 5,507 new cases on average per day, and that 278,119 infections have been reported so far since the pandemic started.
The death toll stands at 7,845 deaths.
Much of the deaths were due to a lack of oxygen, according to The Irrawaddy .
However, the figures may be underreported, due to the low rates of testing.
Top image via Khaung Hsu Thar
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