YANGON, Myanmar

Myanmar recorded close to 4,000 new COVID-19 cases, including more than 70 deaths, within a week, the country’s Health Ministry said on Thursday.

A total of 869 new coronavirus cases were registered on Wednesday, Myanmar’s highest single-day figure since the start of the outbreak, the ministry said in a statement.

Over the past week, 3,868 infections and 73 virus-related fatalities were confirmed across the country, it added.

Myanmar is in the grip of a second COVID-19 wave, which originated in the western Rakhine state, since mid-August.

Some 7,453 cases and 127 deaths have been recorded in the county since then, an alarming spike compared to just 374 infections and six fatalities in the previous five months starting from March 23.

With hundreds of cases emerging daily, the government has reimposed domestic travel curbs throughout the country, with major cities, including the commercial hub of Yangon, placed under strict lockdown.

In early September, authorities instructed domestic airlines to suspend all services and also banned entry visas and international flights until the end of the month.

Restrictions have left Yangon’s streets quiet and deserted despite the country’s looming general elections.

Political parties have been unable to campaign and have called for the polls, scheduled for Nov. 8, to be postponed in view of public health concerns.

However, Myanmar’s election commission and the ruling National League for Democracy party have rejected the demand, saying there will be no delay in the elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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