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WHO worker killed and another injured in Rakhine state of Myanmar, US condemns attack and urges authorities bring the perpetrators to justice

The U.S. State Department condemned Wednesday a recent attack on a UN vehicle in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

“The United States condemns the April 20 attack on a clearly-marked UN vehicle in Rakhine State, which resulted in the death of one World Health Organization (WHO) employee and the wounding of a health worker,” agency spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The UN confirmed Tuesday that the vehicle carrying swabs from patients to be tested for coronavirus came under gunfire in Rakhine and the driver was killed.

Ortagus said the U.S. understands Myanmar nationals were working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic when they came under attack.

“This egregious act undermines efforts to protect vulnerable populations in [Myanmar] and again highlights the urgent need for a cessation of fighting in Rakhine State,” said Ortagus.

She underlined such attacks hinder global efforts to stop the spread of the virus and health and humanitarian workers across the globe “must be able to work without threat of violence – now more than ever.”

The U.S. also urged authorities in Myanmar to bring the perpetrators to justice.

According to a running tally of U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, there are 121 coronavirus-related cases in Myanmar with five fatalities and seven recoveries.

After emerging last December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the virus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.

There are more than 2.6 million confirmed infections globally and an excess of 181,200 deaths.

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