Myanmar says eight coronavirus cases among returnees from Malaysia

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar authorities said on Tuesday said they have found eight coronavirus cases among scores of people who returned from Malaysia, where the authorities have recently been detaining undocumented migrants.

Myanmar officials said the new cases were detected in five different places from among 120 people who flew home from Malaysia this month.

“All of them are in quarantine,” Ministry of Health spokesman Than Naing Soe told Reuters, referring to the 120 people.

Myanmar has reported 191 cases of the coronavirus and six people have died.

Malaysian immigration authorities detained more than 1,800 migrants in at least two raids as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, officials there said.

But the raids have raised concerns that vulnerable people will go into hiding and increase the risk of coronavirus infection in overcrowded detention centres.

Malaysia’s health ministry said it had received a report of one coronavirus case among Myanmar nationals who were repatriated, but from a group of 473 people detained before the government imposed a coronavirus lockdown on March 18.

Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah told a news conference that all detainees were now being screened for the coronavirus.

Reporting by Thu Thu Aung in Yangon; additional reporting by by Joseph Sipalan in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Robert Birsel

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