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UNITED NATIONS – Great Britain warned the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that half of the 54 million inhabitants of the coup-destroyed Myanmar could become infected with COVID-19 within the next two weeks.

Volunteers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) carry the body of a victim of the COVID-19 coronavirus to a cemetery in Hlegu Township, Yangon, on July 10, 2021. (AFP / file)

The UK convened the meeting in response to the so-called “dire” coronavirus situation in Myanmar, which has “spiraled” since the military came to power in February.

The UK urged the Council to ensure that Resolution 2565, calling for ceasefire in conflict areas to enable the safe delivery of coronavirus vaccines, is respected in Myanmar.

The impoverished nation has been in power since the junta came to power in turmoil, and many hospitals are poorly equipped to cope with the rising number of cases after many medical workers left in protest against the coup.

The UN estimates that only 40 percent of health facilities in Myanmar are still functional.

The world organization also estimates that the junta troops carried out at least 260 attacks on medical personnel and medical facilities and at least 67 medical officials have arrested.

“With the new wave of COVID-19 spreading like wildfire across the country, it is unfortunate that more lives are being lost as the Myanmar military is used as a weapon against COVID-19 the people, “said the spokeswoman for the government of national unity, Susanna Hla Hla Soe.

The junta authorities are asking” friendly countries “for help in fighting the coronavirus, state media said this week.

Close to 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Wednesday, up from around 50 a day in early May, but analysts say the real number is likely much higher.

Last week, a batch of donated Sinopharm cans arrived from China the junta authorities said they would be preferred for those living along the Sino-Myanmar border.

China has also delivered more than 10,000 shots to a rebel group operating near its southern Myanmar border ated as Beijing tries to stop the influx of cases from the coup-plagued country.

The junta has ordered a total of four million vaccine doses from China, it said earlier this month, and Beijing will donate another two million.