A World Health Organisation (WHO) driver who was out collecting Coronavirus samples, was reportedly killed in a conflict-riven region of Myanmar on April 20. According to an international media report, Pyae Sone Win Maung was driving a United Nations vehicle when it was hit by gunfire in Rakhine State. The UN reportedly said that dozens of civilians were killed in a fight between the military and the armed ethnic Arakan Army group which escalated in recent weeks.
The vehicle was travelling from Sittwe to Yangon in a bid to bring COVID-19 surveillance samples for the Ministry of Health and Sports. While the UN office in Myanmar said that it was ‘deeply saddened’ by the 28-year-old driver’s death near a military checkpoint in Minbya township, both the sides, the military in Myanmar and the Arakan Army, reportedly denied being involved. Moreover, the two sides blamed each other for death.
The whole WHO family is saddened by the news that— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 21, 2020
we lost a colleague, Pyae Sone Win Maun, who was hurt in a security incident in #Myanmar, while transporting #COVID19 surveillance samples.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.https://t.co/ZT3e8MI70U
While speaking to an international news agency, Myanmar’s Major General Tun Tun Nyi, said that his forces had no reason to attack the UN vehicle. He further said that the forces are working for the country. Meanwhile, the UN also did not say who carried out the shooting, however, the organisation did inform about the attack, and also the fact that one government employee was injured in the incident.
While speaking to the media agency, driver’s father, Htay Win Maung said that his heart was ‘broken’. He said that he is trying to calm himself, thinking that his son died while fulfilling his duty at the frontline. Maung added that his son went there in the midst of turmoil, when many people didn't dare to go.
Meanwhile, the world leaders are scrambling to contain the deadly virus. Coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 176,000 lives worldwide as of April 22. According to the tally by an international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 210 countries and territories and has infected more than 2.5 million people. Out of the total infections, more than 687,000 have recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries including Spain, and the economy is struggling.