Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Myanmar bans domestic flights due to COVID-19 activity. Tighter controls ongoing in Rakhine State and Yangon. Entry ban remains in effect.
Alert Begins 11 Sep 2020 07:26 AM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Transport and business disruptions, quarantine measures; possible protests
Myanmar continues to adjust restrictions amid an increase in local coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. The government has banned travel from Yangon as of Sept. 11 and encouraged residents in other parts of the country to refrain from nonessential travel. Domestic airlines have canceled flights nationwide through at least Sept. 30, though domestic and international cargo and relief flights will continue. Gatherings remain limited to 30 people nationwide, except for public servants, government-related meetings, food establishments, and essential businesses. Factories can operate after passing government inspections. Restaurants can serve dine-in customers with precautions in place. Schools remain suspended until further notice. Officials continue to advise people to wear masks, practice personal hygiene, and maintain a physical distance of 2 meters (6.5 feet) in public.
The government is imposing tighter restrictions in Rakhine State and parts of Yangon, where most new COVID-19 cases have emerged. Residents throughout Rakhine State must stay at home, with exceptions for work, essential, and emergency purposes. A 2100-0400 curfew remains in place, with limited exemptions. As of Sept. 11, authorities have placed 29 townships in Yangon Region under stay-home orders, and a 0001-4000 curfew is in place. People in both areas can only leave home for work or essential and emergency purposes. Business and transport restrictions are also in place.
Some local governments are also increasing checks and restrictions on travelers from Rakhine State and Yangon. Ayeyarwady Region officials require arrivals from Rakhine State to quarantine for 14 days at government-designated facilities, test negative for COVID-19 before release, and then self-isolate for seven days. Mandalay authorities require a 21-day quarantine at government-designated sites and a seven-day self-isolation period for travelers from high-risk areas. In Mawlamyine, travelers from affected areas of Yangon must quarantine at government-designated sites for two weeks and undergo COVID-19 testing before release. Naypyidaw requires arrivals to quarantine and test for COVID-19 at government-designated sites, though the length of isolation varies. People arriving from areas with no known COVID-19 activity must quarantine for at least two days, while arrivals from localities with COVID-19 cases must isolate at least seven days. Travelers must provide evidence of their recent travel history and test negative for COVID-19 before departure from facilities. The central and local governments could expand quarantine requirements to other areas with COVID-19 outbreaks at short notice.
Locals in parts of Myanmar have opposed the government's COVID-19 protocols, and demonstrations against control measures remain possible.
A ban on most international flights and the suspension of visa-on-arrival and e-visa services continues through Sept. 30. The land border remains closed, though goods transport can continue. Diplomats and UN officials are exempt from border restrictions. Authorities also permit business trips in important sectors, such as oil, gas, and power, from mainland China and Japan in a so-called fast lane arrangement.
Returning Myanmar nationals must undergo a 21-day quarantine at government-designated sites, followed by one week of self-isolation. Resident diplomats and UN officials may undergo quarantine at their residence for two weeks. Travelers from fast-lane countries must present a medical document stating they do not have COVID-19 obtained within 36 hours of boarding flights, undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival in Myanmar, and isolate for five days at designated facilities.
Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Defer travel if affected by travel restrictions. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions, particularly if traveling from affected locations. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Avoid any demonstration as a precaution.
Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.