Severity: Warning Alert

Culture: Myanmar to observe Thingyan Festival, April 13-16. Authorities have banned mass gatherings, but some celebrations may still occur.

This alert affects Myanmar

This alert began 12 Apr 2020 17:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Apr 2020 17:30 GMT.

  • Event: Thingyan festival
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: April 13-16
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport disruptions; possible increased petty crime

Summary
Myanmar will observe the annual Thingyan Festival, which marks the Burmese New Year, April 13-16. Authorities have banned mass gatherings during the festival to control the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and local governments in some areas, including Yangon and Mandalay, have canceled celebrations and ordered people to remain at home. Nonetheless, some celebrations, in which revelers typically throw water indiscriminately at each other and passersby, may still occur.

In Yangon, the main celebrations typically take place at the City Hall, Kan Taw Mingalar Garden, Maha Bandula Park, Mya Kyun Thar Park, Thakhin Mya Park, and U Ottama Park, and residents could attempt to gather at these sites. Celebrations in Mandalay will probably take place in the vicinity of the Mandalay Palace moat. Security personnel will probably deploy to monitor possible gathering sites and may force people to stop celebrations. Any gatherings that occur will likely prompt localized traffic disruptions and is potentially dangerous for motorcyclists and other drivers. Police may erect checkpoints along major thoroughfares throughout the country. An increase in petty crimes, such as theft and pickpocketing, is possible.

Travel restrictions aimed at stemming COVID-19 have led to reduced transport during the festival. Nonetheless, increased congestion at transport hubs and on major highways nationwide is possible ahead of and after the holiday.

Advice
Consider limiting road travel before, during, and after the festival due to safety concerns. Drive defensively, especially on highways. Confirm all transport reservations during the holiday period and prepare for cancellations and delays. Closely guard valuables in crowded areas. Carry proper identification at all times.