Doctors in Burma (Myanmar) pledged to shut down government-run hospitals across the country to protest Monday’s new military coup, Bloomberg reports.
The doctors and other health workers have joined a civil disobedience campaign accusing the military of putting “its own interests above a vulnerable population facing hardships” during the pandemic, according to The Philippine Star. Takeaways:
- By Tuesday, staff at 70 hospitals and medical departments in 30 towns were on strike; some are volunteering instead in charity health clinics.
- COVID-19 has killed 3,100+ and infected at least 140,300 in the country.
- The health system, weakened by decades of upheaval and neglect, is struggling, ABC reports. It had just 0.71 intensive care beds and 0.46 ventilators per 100,000 population when the pandemic began.
Vaccinations are set to begin in February and won’t be affected by the disruption, officials said. But others doubt the military’s ability to roll out vaccines or control outbreaks.
The doctors’ walkout will negatively affect the health system and speed the virus’s spread if people aren’t getting tested and isolated, the University of New South Wales’s Raina Macintyre told Bloomberg.