Myanmar centenarian shrugs off coronavirus, worries about grandchildren

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar centenarian Thein Khin not only beat the coronavirus, but barely knew she had it.

Thein Khin, 100, tested positive for COVID-19 and was kept in an isolation centre last month when the virus spread among four generations of her family, but was asymptomatic and said she was more worried about her grandchildren.

“I felt nothing. I was eating well, showering myself and walking as normal,” she said at her home in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, surrounded by small children.

“If I suffered from this virus, I would be lying and moaning on the bed. But I am strong, walking around. I felt nothing.”

The elderly are among those most vulnerable to the virus that has killed more than a million people worldwide.

The risks are even higher in poorer countries with under-equipped health services, including Myanmar, which is experiencing a surge in infections having been spared a major outbreak early on.

But the sprightly senior was not surprised to emerge unscathed from COVID-19, having had, she said, no major illnesses.

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“The situation during World War Two was so much worse. I heard this virus pandemic is also dangerous across the world. But I feel this disease is nothing,” she said.

“Of course, I’m worried for my children and grandkids. Death is no matter for me because I am very old. I have escaped from many deadly, worse and dangerous situations.”

Her granddaughter, Win Win Yee, said the family were thankful all 10 infected members were safe, but would take nothing for granted.

“We are still so scared of getting infected again,” she said. “That’s why we don’t go anywhere outside ... We locked ourselves down.”

Coronavirus cases in Myanmar have passed 29,000, from just a few hundred in August, with more than 660 deaths.

Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Janet Lawrence