Myanmar extends international flight ban through Oct. 31 due to COVID-19 activity. Tighter controls ongoing in Yangon and other locations.
Myanmar has extended the international flight ban through Nov. 30 amid continued high local coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. 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.
The government has also extended the suspension of domestic flights through Nov. 15. Gatherings are limited to 30 people nationwide, except for public servants, government-related meetings, food establishments, and essential businesses, among others. Officials continue to advise people to wear facemasks, practice personal hygiene, and maintain a physical distance of 2 meters (6.5 feet) in public. Additionally, a 0001-0400 curfew is ongoing in parts of the country.
Stay-home orders are in effect in several townships in Bago, Mandalay, and Ayeyarwady regions and Mon State. Exceptions from the rules are in place for individuals with emergency and essential purposes, as well as people working in select sectors, such as medical, food establishments, manufacturing, banks, and financial services. Government employees must rotate between working on-site and at home every two weeks. Authorities allow one person from each household to leave home to obtain supplies, while only two people per household can visit medical facilities. Wearing a facemask is compulsory when in public. Entry and exit in the areas are restricted, with exemptions for people performing official duties or facing emergencies; people leaving the areas for other reasons must seek the local officials' permission. Vehicles cannot operate in or pass by the areas, except those transporting people to and from work, among others. As of Oct. 27, the areas enacting stay-home orders include:
- Ayeyarwady Region: Maubin, Pathein, and Pyapon townships.
- Bago Region: Bago, Kawa, and Thanatpin townships.
- Kachin State: Hpakant and Mohnyin
- Mandalay Region: Amarapura, Chanayethazan, and Mahaaungmye townships.
- Mon State: Bilin and Mawlamyine townships.
- Rakhine State: Rules are in effect statewide. A 2100-0400 curfew is ongoing, with limited exemptions.
- Yangon Region: Controls are in place throughout the region, except Cocokyun Township. Officials have banned travel from the region except for essential reasons.
Authorities also announced that they would temporarily lift gathering and stay-home restrictions Nov. 8 to facilitate election-related activities. Residents in localities in stay-home areas will be allowed to travel to polling stations, while people nationwide will be able to form gatherings of more than 30 people.
Some local governments are increasing checks and restrictions on travelers from areas with high local COVID-19 activity. 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. Travelers from high-risk areas must quarantine at government-designated sites for 21 days and then self-isolate for seven days upon arrival in Mandalay Region. 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 protests against restrictions remain possible.
Visa-on-arrival and e-visa services remain suspended. Exemptions include resident diplomats and UN officials. 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. Additionally, 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 with protocols in place. Safeguards include requiring the travelers to 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 at designated facilities. The land border remains closed, though goods transport can continue.
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.