Myanmar Lifts Last Stay-at-Home Restrictions at Its COVID-19 Epicenter
By Nan Lwin 30 June 2020
YANGON—Myanmar will lift stay-at-home orders for a COVID-19 hotspot township in the commercial capital, Yangon, after the city saw no local transmissions for several weeks.
The Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) said it would revoke a partial lockdown order for Insein Township starting from July 1, saying it had improved efforts to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Yangon has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Myanmar with 209. Among the townships in the region, Insein has been hit hardest by COVID-19, reporting a total of 49 cases.
With the latest move from MOHS, no townships in Yangon remain under partial lockdown orders.
In May, the ministry imposed stay-at-home orders in 10 townships in Yangon that reported the majority of the region’s COVID-19 cases: Insein, Shwephyithar, Mayangone, Bahan, Pabedan, South Okkalapa, Hlaing Tharyar, Mingaladon, Botataung and Tamwe.
The orders required residents to stay at home except when going to work, and allowed only one person per household to leave the house at a time to buy food and essential supplies. Moreover, it only allowed two people to leave the house together to visit a clinic or hospital for necessary medical care. If residents had to leave their homes for any reason, they were required to seek permission from their ward administrator.
The MOHS removed partial lockdown orders for Mingaladon, Hlaing Tharyar, Shwe Pyi Thar and Botataung in Yangon on May 14, and for another four townships— Bahan, Pabedan, South Okkalapa and Tamwe—on May 28. On June 15, it removed restrictions for Mayangone Township.
Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said on Monday that the government has been reviewing its COVID-19-related instructions every two weeks.
According to the State Counselor, stay-at-home orders have now been lifted for all townships in the country, but large gatherings remain banned. She warned the public to continue to follow COVID-19-related instructions, pointing out that the country had seen many asymptomatic cases.
“It is very important to wear a mask, especially in the marketplaces, where there is the possibility to make close contact with other people for long [periods]. Do not forget to wash your hands. Don’t let your guard down,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said.
On Monday, the government announced the extension of visa restrictions and bans on international flights until the end of July, as COVID-19 cases continue to be reported among returnees from overseas.
As of Tuesday morning, the country had reported a total of 299 COVID-19 cases with six deaths. MOHS said that among the infected people, a total of 221 had recovered from the disease and only 72 people are considered active cases.
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