Doctors accuse Myanmar's military junta of hoarding oxygen as COVID-19 crisis deepens

Doctors in Myanmar have accused the military junta of hoarding desperately needed oxygen cylinders and terrorising medical professionals as the country reels from a spiralling COVID-19 crisis.

The number of COVID cases has exploded in Myanmar, with a record high of 7,089 new cases confirmed by the military on Wednesday. The country recorded 6,194 infections in the past 24 hours.

The World Health Organization reports a total of 4,536 COVID-19 deaths in Myanmar, but almost non-existent testing means that both figures are likely huge underestimates.

Myanmar's health system – already in chaos in the aftermath of the February 1 military coup – has collapsed under the pressure, leaving countless people in the country desperately scrambling to obtain oxygen supplies for sick family members.

But the military government has clamped down on the sale of oxygen cylinders, forcing thousands to queue for hours, sometimes in defiance of lockdown orders, at times drawing a violent response from troops.