Coronavirus: With ‘zero’ infections, Laos and Myanmar gird for battle

As coronavirus infections spike across South-east Asia, Myanmar and Laos have conspicuously logged zero patients – despite the fact that both share a sizeable border with China, where the outbreak originated.

Both countries say all the people suspected of being infected with the coronavirus have tested negative so far. But limited access to testing equipment and reagents mean that they have conducted only some 300 tests for a combined population of 60 million.

The official explanation has not assuaged public concern in Myanmar, where at least four patients with symptoms indicative of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, have died in quarantine. Some panic buying of necessities have occurred in Yangon and Mandalay.

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Tan Hui Yee