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Attack on WHO vehicle kills Myanmar driver transporting COVID-19 samples

April 21 (UPI) -- An attack on a World Health Organization vehicle transporting coronavirus samples in Myanmar left one aid worker dead, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The attack happened Monday in Minbya Township in the western Rakhine state, which has seen years of violence against the ethnic Rohingya.

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The Myanmar driver, Pyae Sone Win Maung, was transporting samples for COVID-19 testing along with a Ministry of Health and Sports official, who was injured.

A U.N. spokesman said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack.

"The secretary-general expresses his condolences to the family of the deceased and wishes a swift recovery to the injured," the statement said. "He calls for a full and transparent investigation into the incident and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice."

A statement on behalf of 16 humanitarian organizations said the violence demonstrates the growing need for a cease-fire in the region.

"The ongoing conflict in Myanmar's Rakhine and Chin States between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army is causing an increasing number of civilian casualties, while severely hampering access to healthcare as well as other efforts to reach communities with much needed assistance in the midst of a global pandemic," the statement said.

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"Across the globe and in Myanmar, millions of frontline health workers, humanitarian staff and other key workers are trying to contain the spread of the COVID 19 virus."

In addition to the cease-fire, the organizations asked for unfettered access to Rakhine state or humanitarian and healthcare workers.

Those signing the statement included Action Contre La Faim MA-UK, CARE International Mercy Corps, CDN-ZOA Norwegian Refugee Council, Christian Aid Oxfam, Danish Refugee Council Save the Children, Humanity and Inclusion Solidarites International, International Rescue Committee Triangle Generation Humaniaire, and Lutheran World Federation World Vision International.

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