Myanmar & COVID-19

Myanmar Considers Relaxing COVID-19 Restrictions

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 19 November 2020

Yangon – Myanmar’s State Counselor’s Office says the government is considering relaxing many COVID-19 restrictions, including stay-at-home orders, to ease the impact on the country’s economy.

Myanmar imposed stay-at-home orders on about 75 townships in Bago, Ayeyarwady and Mandalay regions and Kachin and Mon states and the whole of Yangon Region and Rakhine State.

Under the orders, only essential businesses and organizations and garment factories, are allowed to open.

On Tuesday, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who chairs the Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19, held talks with her health, investment and international cooperation ministers and the rest of the COVID-19 committee.

The committee discussed relaxing stay-at-home orders, depending on COVID-19 rates in each township, resuming domestic flights and other travel within the country.

Domestic flights have been banned since Sept. 11.

Domestic travel restrictions might be lifted for government officials, foreign diplomats, United Nations staff and members of other international organizations.

Anyone wishing to travel without facing repeated COVID-19 tests or quarantine must be tested for coronavirus before traveling.

Limited numbers of worshippers in townships without stay-at-home orders will be able to attend religious events twice a day, according to the State Counselor’s Office.

It said, in townships with low COVID-19 infection rates, no more than 30 devotees might be allowed to observe religious events four times a month.

During Christmas and New Year, Christian congregations would be limited to 50.

The relaxations have not been confirmed.

Myanmar is currently reporting more than 1,000 cases per day.

On Wednesday, Yangon reported 55,737 cases, followed by Bago Region with 3,783 cases, Mandalay Region with 3,623 cases and Rakhine State with 3,337 cases.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has warned that the spread of COVID-19 could increase due to recent gatherings celebrating her party’s election victory.

The World Bank said the economic impact of the second wave of COVID-19 has been significantly more severe on Myanmar’s businesses than the first.

According to its September survey of 500 firms in Myanmar, around 83 percent of firms reported negative impacts, an increase from 75 percent in August, when the second coronavirus wave hit Myanmar.

On Wednesday morning, Myanmar reported 73,322 COVID-19 cases, including 1,650 fatalities and 54,764 recoveries.

Myanmar is third in terms of COVID-19 cases in Asean, behind Indonesia and the Philippines.

Cases have been reported in more than 200 townships across 15 regions and states.

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