Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Myanmar extends restrictions through at least May 31. Mandalay and Yangon easing measures. Entry ban, quarantine requirement in effect.

This alert affects Myanmar

This alert began 15 May 2020 06:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions; possible protests

Summary
The National Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19 has extended restrictions nationwide to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through at least May 31. Internal movement controls remain in place in many parts of the country, but restrictions vary by location. Gatherings of more than five people are banned, with exemptions for public servants, factory workers, among others. Factories are only allowed to operate after undergoing health and social distancing inspections. Authorities are also advising the public to wear face masks or coverings; police in some areas could fine residents for ignoring the rules. However, authorities have reduced a nightly curfew in areas where they are active, including the Yangon region, multiple townships of Naypyidaw, and Kachin, Kayin, and Shan states, to 0001-0400 as of May 15.

Local governments in Yangon and Mandalay - where social distancing measures have been most intense - have begun to ease measures. In Yangon, officials have lifted stay-at-home orders for residents in Mingaladon, Hlaingthaya, Shwepyitha, and Botataung townships. Officials have unblocked roads and allowed businesses to resume, provided owners implement physical distancing recommendations. However, the city is maintaining stay-at-home orders for Bahan, Insein, Mayangon, Pabedan, South Okkalapa, and Tamwe townships through May 31. Authorities are blocking access to affected areas, and residents must request permission from ward officials to leave. Police are restricting transport to commuting employees. Only one person from each household can go to purchase essential supplies.

In Mandalay, authorities continue to restrict entry and exit to the region for tour groups. People arriving from areas with known COVID-19 cases must undergo a 21-day quarantine at designated facilities. However, officials will allow all businesses to resume - except entertainment venues - to reopen from May 16. Restaurants will be allowed to open for take-out and delivery orders only. Naypyidaw has set up checkpoints and quarantine travelers showing COVID-19 symptoms for 21 days.

Locals in some parts of Myanmar have opposed movement controls, and demonstrations are possible in the coming weeks.

Travel Restrictions

All international flights, except for relief and cargo flights, remain suspended through May 31. The government has restricted cross-border movements, allowing only the transport of goods. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also suspended visa issuance and visa-free travel to the country; diplomats, UN officials, and aircraft and ship crew members are exempt from the restrictions. Arriving travelers, with some exceptions, must undergo a 21-day quarantine at a designated government facility, followed by one week of self-isolation.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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
Postpone 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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