Myanmar’s poorest take coronavirus fight into their own hands

After Myanmar confirmed its first coronavirus infection in late March, the residents of one village in the country’s northwestern Sagaing region sprang into action.

They built bamboo tents to serve as quarantine centers, banned nonessential movement in and out, and put townsmen on guard at the main entry in rotating three-man shifts.

The small community of about 200 households had no choice but to defend itself. It has little contact from the government, according to Kyaw San Win, a 40-year-old community leader, and no access to modern health care facilities or state funding for medical supplies and equipment.

“We decided to stand on our own feet to fight against this pandemic,” he said. “We don’t rely on public health services.”