The Myanmar Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) announced on Friday, April 24, that an ongoing suspension of all international flights will be extended to 23:59 (local time) on Friday, May 15, to prevent imported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) from entering the country. Cargo, medical evacuation, and specially approved flights are exempt from the ban. The latest extension comes after State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi's announcement on Thursday, April 23, that existing directives to curb the spread of the virus which were originally due to expire on Thursday, April 30, will be extended to May 15.
Curfews remain in place in the regions of Yangon, Ayeyawaddy, Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory, Sagaing and seven townships in Kayah state between 22:00 and 04:00 (local time). In Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory, the restrictions will be in place in all townships of the territory, including the capital, Nay Pyi Taw. All express bus services in Nay Pyi Taw continue to be suspended as of Tuesday, April 21. A curfew from 21:00 to 04:00 has been in place in Mandalay since Thursday, April 16. In Sagaing, residents are not allowed to leave their homes during the curfew except to purchase food or seek medical attention. Seven townships in Kayah State, including Loikaw, Demoso, Phayuso, Shataw, Bawlakhe, Phasaung and Maese, will be under curfew from Tuesday, April 21, until Wednesday, May 20.
Authorities in Mandalay announced on Wednesday, April 22, that individuals returning from regions in Myanmar with positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) must complete a mandatory 21-day facility quarantine and 7-day home quarantine. Those returning from areas with no reported COVID-19 cases will be required quarantine only if necessary, after a compulsory medical check. Arrangements may also be made for individuals who wish to be quarantined in hotels. Meanwhile, vehicles with more than four people are prohibited from traveling to and from Mandalay until Thursday, April 30.
An existing 14-day quarantine requirement for all returning migrants has been extended to 21 days. Visa issuance to foreign nationals is suspended. Public gatherings have been banned as a precautionary measure. All of Myanmar's borders with Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, and Thailand, are closed to all travelers, except for cargo.
To date, there have been 144 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Myanmar, including five associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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