With medical workers and volunteers strained by the novel coronavirus, Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi asked for forgiveness in a televised speech this week, acknowledging that surging cases and deaths had led to a shortage of hospital beds.

Yet in the same speech, Suu Kyi vowed to go ahead with elections on Nov. 8, despite the anxieties over public health in one of the world’s least-developed countries.

“At this time, all of us should unite our strength to overcome covid and also conduct the elections successfully,” she said, describing voting as a duty equal to fighting the virus.

The election result is hardly in doubt — Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy remains wildly popular — but the specter of millions flocking to polling booths during a virus outbreak has unnerved some voters, echoing fears in the United States as the presidential election nears.

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