Myanmar junta leader sick in his mansion with COVID-19: report

A 2019 photo of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing. Original photo: Vadim Savitsky / Russian Ministry of Defense
A 2019 photo of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing. Original photo: Vadim Savitsky / Russian Ministry of Defense

The general who seized power over a year ago and has since presided over a near state of civil war as the economy crumbles, yes, that very same Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, now reportedly has COVID-19.

The self-styled chairman of the State Administration Council, aka junta leader, was diagnosed with the disease in Naypyidaw, according to Myanmar news agency Mizzima.

It said that the 65-year-old military leader disappeared from public view after attending the opening of a monastery in the capital’s Dakkhin Thiri Township on Feb. 27, where he likely was infected. 

Just a couple weeks ago, he emceed the 60th National Union Day celebrations at a cost of over MMK90 million (US $50 million), which turned into a super spreader event where many attendees took ill.

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The general, who had been suffering back pain, was forced to sequester in his mansion in the capital due to his illness and has not engaged in any office work, the report said. Through a spokesperson, he has dismissed rumors that he has cancer and denied having any serious health problems. 

The coup leader was inoculated against COVID-19 using a vaccine donated by Russia in the early days of the pandemic and has already received a booster.

Domestic outbreaks of the Omicron variant have been on the rise in Myanmar, with the outbreak most recently peaking in late February, according to the unreliable official count. There have reportedly been major outbreaks in Naypyidaw.

At the Union Day event, many bureaucrats and most of the 120 students from five high schools in attendance were infected. 

Deputy Home Minister and Chief of Police Lt. Gen. Than Hlaing, who was attending the 40th ASEAN Police Force Conference in Phnom Penh, was also diagnosed with the virus upon his return to Myanmar last week.

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