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WHO worker dies as vehicle carrying Covid-19 samples is attacked in Myanmar

WHO worker dies as vehicle carrying Covid-19 samples is attacked in Myanmar
A World Health Organization driver was killed in an attack on a “marked UN vehicle” transporting some “surveillance samples” through Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine province, where fighting resumed several days ago.

Myanmar, where the tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 119, saw “a security incident” in the Minbya township of the country’s westernmost Rakhine state, a local United Nations office confirmed on Tuesday.

It said the vehicle, bearing UN credentials, has been transporting “Covid-19 surveillance samples in support of the Ministry of Health and Sports” to Myanmar’s capital, Yangon. The driver succumbed to his injuries, it reported, without expanding on the attack. 

The incident comes as intense hostilities rage in Rakhine and the adjacent state of Chin, where the army is fighting various rebel groupings. At least 32 people have been killed and more than 70 injured within the past month, according to a UN estimate

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The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t so far hit Myanmar as hard as neighboring Bangladesh or Thailand, but it appears to be taking a toll on the Southeast Asian country’s healthcare system. Several nurses working with Covid-19 patients have caught the virus and been hospitalized, and one doctor has died, local media reported.

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