Authorities in Myanmar have issued a stay at home order for most of Yangon, following a sharp increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The only region of Yangon not to be affected is the Coco Islands. Employees in most industries will be required to work from home, with the exception of certain industries deemed essential, such as finance, food, water, and petrol distribution, and medical. Only one member of each household may leave the house to purchase supplies, and only two may leave to seek medical care. Face masks must be worn at all times when out. Vehicles may only leave townships if carrying passengers to places of work.
Mandatory quarantine and coronavirus tests for visitors to the capital have been implemented and entry will only be allowed following a negative result. Those arriving from the country's worst-hit areas will be quarantined in a facility for at least seven days, while others will be allowed to leave earlier if they test negative. Furthermore, the ban on international flights has been extended until September 30. Domestic airline services have also been halted until the end of September.
As of Sunday, September 20, health authorities have confirmed a total of 5263 COVID-19 cases with 89 associated deaths. Further spread of the virus is expected in 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.