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Former Myanmar strongman Than Shwe is being treated with COVID in a hospital

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Myanmar's former military leader, who ruled the country with an iron fist for nearly two decades, has been admitted to a hospital in Naypyidaw after testing positive for COVID-19, even as citizens infected with the virus are left to fend for themselves in overcrowded health facilities across the country.

On Friday, local media broke the news of his admission.


According to The Irrawaddy news website, Than Shwe, 88, and his wife, Kyaing Kyaing, have been warded in the 1,000-bed military-owned hospital in Thaik Chaung, the capital, for many days as a precaution.

The two have tested positive for COVID-19, according to unnamed sources published by the Associated Press news agency, however the degree of their disease is unknown.

The couple, according to the Irrawaddy, are "in good health and are assumed to have got their inoculations," as the country's vaccine programme prioritises persons aged 65 and higher.


Than Shwe is in a stable condition in hospital, according to a government official who did not want to be identified.


Than Shwe was Myanmar's military leader from 1992 until 2011, suppressing opposition and isolating the country from the rest of the world.

However, he began a gradual transition to civilian rule, which came to an end in February when his pupil, army chief Min Aung Hlaing, took power from Aung San Suu Kyi and the elected government.

The former military general's hospitalisation comes as the government continues to battle a new wave of COVID-19 cases thought to be caused by the Delta variety.

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