Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Myanmar extends international flight ban through Aug. 31 due to COVID-19. Domestic restrictions and entry ban for most foreigners in place.

  • Alert Begins: 29 Jul 2020 10:15 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 28 Aug 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

Summary
Myanmar's government has extended the ban on most international flights through at least Aug. 31 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Relief and cargo flights can continue operating. Authorities may also allow special flights to transport citizens to and from Myanmar on a case-by-case basis. Visa-on-arrival and e-visa issuance for tourism purposes remain suspended. Returning Myanmar nationals must undergo a 21-day quarantine at government-designated sites, followed by one week of self-isolation. Most foreign nationals remain banned from entering the country, with limited exceptions for diplomatic personnel. Resident diplomats and UN officials may undergo quarantine at their residence for two weeks.

Additionally, authorities are allowing business trips for essential sectors, such as oil, gas, and power, from mainland China and Japan as of July 29 in a so-called fast lane arrangement. Personnel will have to obtain a medical document stating they do not carry COVID-19 within 36 hours of boarding Myanmar-bound flights, and will also have to undergo COVID-19 tests upon arriving in Myanmar and after completing five days of quarantine at designated facilities. Officials said they plan to add more countries to the fast lane scheme in the coming months. The government has restricted cross-border movements at land checkpoints, allowing only the transport of goods.

At the domestic level, various nationwide restrictions remain in place through at least July 31, though the central government is relaxing some controls. Most gatherings remain limited to five people, with exemptions, including for public servants, government-related meetings, food establishments, and essential businesses. Factories are allowed to operate after passing government inspections. Restaurants can serve dine-in customers with precautions; employees must wear masks and set up partitions between customers. Officials plan to allow cinemas to reopen from mid-August. High schools have reopened since July 21. Authorities continue to advise the public to wear face coverings.

Varying localized movement and business restrictions remain in effect across Myanmar amid the easing of some measures. A 0001-0400 nightly curfew in several locations, including the Yangon region and multiple townships of Naypyidaw, remains in place through at least July 31. Mandalay region officials may require people arriving from areas implementing stricter localized restrictions to undergo a 21-day quarantine at designated facilities. Naypyidaw's local government has set up checkpoints and will quarantine travelers showing COVID-19 symptoms for 21 days. Local authorities in Yangon intend to allow pagodas in the region to reopen from July 30. The central and local governments could expand its response in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Locals in some parts of Myanmar have opposed the government's COVID-19 restrictions, and demonstrations are possible in the coming weeks.

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.

Advice
Consider postponing travel if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm flight status before checking out of accommodation and departing for the airport. 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.


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