Myanmar Plans Flights to Bring Home Nationals Stranded by COVID-19

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 27 April 2020

Yangon – Myanmar is planning relief flights to India, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Japan to bring back hundreds of stranded nationals, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

U Aung Kyaw Zan, director-general of the Consular and Legal Affairs Department, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that airports in India, Thailand and Singapore have set up assembly areas for citizens from Myanmar.

“First we will bring back elderly people, those with health issues and those whose visas have expired,” said U Aung Kyaw Zan.

He added that flights had been discussed with Myanmar Airways International (MAI).

The government said it would pay for the outbound flights but nationals would have to buy a ticket home.

The ministry said those stranded overseas were expected back by the first week of May.

Ministry spokesman U Aung Kyaw Zan said 168 nationals in Japan would be expected to fly back with All Nippon Airlines next month.

MAI was also planning flights to South Korea, the ministry said.

Labor attaché U Zayar Tin Win Htin from the Myanmar Embassy in Seoul told The Irrawaddy that about 350 nationals, including workers, students and seamen, in South Korea have reported to the embassy asking to return home.

A flight on April 30 only had a capacity of 97 passengers, he added.

The ministry spokesman said there were also plans to bring back those in Malaysia, the Philippines and Europe.

All returnees face 21 days in quarantine centers and home isolation for a further seven days.

Myanmar has confirmed 146 COVID-19 patients, including five deaths and 10 recoveries.

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