Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials enforcing a nightly 2100-0400 curfew throughout Rakhine State, Myanmar, as of Sept. 4, due to COVID-19. Other controls in place.

Alert Begins 04 Sep 2020 08:29 AM UTC
Alert Expires 05 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Rakhine State (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Increased security, transport and business disruptions

Authorities are enforcing a nightly 2100-0400 curfew across Rakhine State through at least Nov. 2, following an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the region. Exceptions from the curfew are in place for emergency situations, among others. Outside of curfew hours, officials earlier ordered residents throughout the state to remain at home, with exemptions for people with emergency, essential, and work purposes. Only one person from each household can leave home to obtain supplies, while only two people per household can visit medical facilities in emergencies. The government has reportedly banned locals from traveling outside their towns; exemptions are possible with consent from the local administration officials. Schools remain shut until further notice. Wearing masks is compulsory when in public. Officials have also reportedly suspended events in internally displaced people (IDP) camps and banned non-government organization (NGO) members from meeting IDP; authorities have instructed NGOs to deliver goods to camp administration offices instead. The government is also increasing security checks at transport hubs and major roads across Rakhine State.

Additionally, stricter controls are in effect in parts of the state, especially in areas where known COVID-19 cases reside. Officials in Kyaukpyu District have ordered individuals coming from Sittwe to undergo health checks and self-isolate at their residence. Those who have had contact with known cases will need to test for COVID-19 and quarantine at government-designated facilities; the length of the mandated isolation is unclear. Other local governments could also enact other additional curbs on top of statewide protocols.

Across Myanmar, local authorities in some areas are increasing checks and restrictions on travelers from Rakhine State. Mandalay Region's officials require people coming from Rakhine State and other locations with known COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 21 days at government-designated sites and then self-isolate for seven days at their residences. In Ayeyarwady Region, arrivals from Rakhine State have to quarantine for 14 days at government-designated facilities and test for COVID-19; those who test negative will still have to isolate at their residence for seven days. Additionally, Ayeyarwady Region's officials may deny entry to vehicles coming from Rakhine State without the necessary documents; the required certificates reportedly include a travel document and medical notes stating the passengers do not carry COVID-19.

Follow all official instructions. Remain polite and cooperative if stopped by security personnel for checks. Avoid crowded areas. Stock up on essential supplies as a precaution. Confirm all travel reservations; consider deferring nonessential travel to and from Rakhine State, especially Sittwe. Make allowances for likely domestic travel restrictions if operating in the region. Abide by national and local health and safety measures. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize 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 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.

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