Myanmar extends entry restrictions until the end of June
The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Myanmar has announced that it will extend the COVID-19 entry restrictions in the country until June 30th. It was previously expected that the measures would be eased on June 15, but this was ultimately not deemed feasible.
The government has also confirmed that all visa exemptions and visa issuance facilities will remain suspended during this period. This means that it will not be possible to obtain a Myanmar visa for Indians until the beginning of July, at the earliest.
Why Myanmar is extending its COVID travel restrictions
Myanmar has decided to extend its entry ban due to the surge of COVID in Asia, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus within the country’s borders. On May 31st, the Myanmar Health and Sports Ministry reported that 58 new cases had been recorded, bringing the total number of cases in the country up to 143,629.
While Myanmar has recorded roughly 3,217 COVID-related deaths at the time of writing, a total of 132,319 patients have been discharged from hospitals and recovered from the virus. Nevertheless, the government has decided to curb the further spread of the virus by postponing the planned easing of the travel restrictions by an additional two weeks.
Current Entry Restrictions for Myanmar
In addition to extending the entry restrictions for all foreign citizens, Myanmar has also suspended all flights to the country until 30th June with the exception of medevac flights.
All travellers who currently wish to visit Myanmar are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, with the exception of nationals of Myanmar. The test must have been taken at least 72 hours before the departure of the traveler’s flight.
All passengers must also quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Myanmar. Airline crew, on the other hand, are only required to quarantine until their next flight.
Although visas for Myanmar are not currently being issued, exceptions may be granted for some travellers, including diplomats and officials of the United Nations, if they have an urgent official duty to undertake in the country or another compelling reason for their trip. In such cases, the traveler is advised to contact their nearest diplomatic mission of Myanmar for further information.
Restriction of movement within Myanmar
Restrictions within Myanmar’s borders have also been extended until the end of June at the earliest. These include the nightly curfew in Yangon from 12 am to 4 am local time and a ban on gatherings of more than 5 people at once.
Movement restrictions in the townships of Mayangone and Insein in Yangon also remain in place. Residents of these areas are asked not to leave their homes, except for essential reasons such as to work. A 2-person maximum occupancy also applies to any vehicles circulating in the area.
However, some other restrictions have already been eased:
* Factories, workshops, government institutions, and other workplaces are now open for business
* Bars and restaurants have reopened with social distancing measures
* Both public and private schools have reopened
* Seminars, meetings, and training at government institutions is now permitted
Nevertheless, the use of face masks remains compulsory in all public spaces, including on public transportation.
Timeline of key COVID developments in Myanmar
* March 19th, 2020 - A mandatory 14-day quarantine stay at a government facility becomes a requirement for travellers arriving from countries highly affected by the pandemic, including Italy, France, Germany, and Spain.
* March 23rd, 2020 - Myanmar detected its first two positive cases of COVID-19.
* March 25th, 2020 - Quarantine becomes compulsory for all arriving passengers.
* March 30th, 2020 - All international passenger flights to Myanmar suspended.
* March 31st, 2020 - First COVID-related death recorded in Myanmar.
* April 13th, 2020- Border crossing with Bangladesh closed.
* April 18th, 2020 - Nightly curfews introduced in the Yangon, Ayeyarwaddy, and Naypyidaw regions.
* May 18th, 2020 - Stay-at-home orders lifted in several Yangon townships.
* May 29th, 2020 - Domestic airlines resume operations.
* August 27th, 2020 - COVID-19 restrictions tightened as a result of a rise in cases.
* September 4th, 2020 - Nightly curfew imposed in Rakhine State.
* September 27th, 2020 - Stay-at-home orders resisted in many Yangon provinces.
* June 30th, 2021 - Entry restrictions expected to be lifted.
Is it currently safe to travel to Myanmar?
Aside from COVID-19 related concerns, anyone planning to visit Myanmar should keep in mind that the political situation in the country is still rather unstable as a result of the military-led coup which occurred in February 2021. As a result, the security situation in Myanmar has deteriorated significantly, and protests and acts of violence continue to be a common occurrence.
Therefore, many foreign governments continue to advise against all but essential travel to Myanmar once the entry restrictions have been lifted. Travellers who cannot postpone their trip for whatever reason are advised to keep a low profile, avoid any protests and large gatherings, and follow the advice of local authorities.