COVID-19 pandemic in Myanmar
This article needs to be updated.(December 2020)
|COVID-19 pandemic in Myanmar|
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Index case||Tedim, Chin State|
|Arrival date||23 March 2020|
(1 year, 2 months, 3 weeks and 6 days)
COVID-19 pandemic in Myanmar is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have reached Myanmar on 23 March 2020. On 31 March 2020, the Committee for Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19), headed by First Vice President Myint Swe and made up of members from the various union ministries, was formed by President Win Myint to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Although the government rapidly implemented containment measures and public health responses, the country had experienced one of the most severe COVID-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia by late 2020. The UN raised concerns about Myanmar's vulnerability to the pandemic due to its weak healthcare infrastructure following poor investment over six decades of military rule, as well as ongoing internal conflict.
The pandemic has greatly disrupted the country's economy and Myanmar's GDP shrank by 5% in 2020. The 2021 coup d'état and subsequent protests and civil disobedience movement, some of which were led by healthcare workers, caused severe disruptions to the country's public health response and deepened its recession. The country's COVID-19 testing system and vaccination deployment are thought to have collapsed in February 2021.
The following is a summary of currently confirmed cases within Myanmar.
|Total Specimens Tested||Laboratory Confirmed Case||Recovered||Deaths|
Last updated: 13 February 2021, 8:00 PM MMT
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2021)
30-Jan-2020 Myanmar President's Office on Jan-30 announced the formation of a special committee to tackle the coronavirus chaired by the Union minister for international cooperation and the minister of health and sports.
The announcement was made public on the same day that the first foreign visitor to Myanmar suspected of carrying the virus, a Chinese passenger on a flight from Guangzhou, was identified at Yangon International Airport and taken to a hospital in the city for further observation.
The Central Committee to Prevent, Control and Treat the 2019 Novel Coronavirus was formed one day after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a global health emergency.
From 31 January, over 81 suspected cases were reported, in which 79 cases were tested negative. Nonetheless, still over 75 suspected cases remain under quarantine as for March.
01-Feb-2020 Myanmar suspends Chinese visas on arrival in wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China. The decision comes after a Chinese passenger lands with flu-like symptoms in Yangon, and WHO declares the virus a ‘global health emergency’.
The Myanmar government evacuated 59 students stranded in the Chinese city of Wuhan as the new coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.
This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (March 2021)
On 23 March, Myanmar confirmed its first and second COVID-19 cases.
On 25 March, Myanmar confirmed its third COVID-19 case.
On 27 March, Ministry of Health and Sports confirmed one case in Mandalay and another in Yangon.
On 28 March, Ministry of Health and Sports confirmed 3 new cases, two cases in Yangon and another in Nay Pyi Taw. Among these 3 new cases, one was a 60 years old woman with no recent history of travel to overseas and it was recorded as the first locally transmitted case in Myanmar.
On 29 March, Ministry of Health and Sports confirmed two more cases in Yangon. Diagnostic patient (Case-10), a 45-year-old Myanmar national, had a close contact with Case-05, and was placed under hospital quarantine on 28 March 2020. His biological specimens were also collected for a COVID-19 laboratory test and the results came back as positive on the next day.
On 30 March, 4 more cases were confirmed. According to an official statement issued by Ministry of Health and Sports, four French tourists who were in close contact with the tour guide (Case-08) were put under quarantine at one of the hotels in Yangon and underwent a series of laboratory tests on 29 March 2020. 3 of them were confirmed positive on the next day (Case-11, Case-12, Case-13) and transferred to Way Bar Gi Specialist Hospital for further treatment. Case-14 is a patient in the northern Shan State. A 24-year-old Myanmar national returned from Bangkok, Thailand to Tachilek, Myanmar and stayed for two nights in Tachilek. On 28 March 2020, he suffered severe symptoms of nausea and was admitted to Kyaukme Township Hospital as a monitored patient. His analytical sample was tested and found positive. 
On 31 March, Ministry of Health and Sports confirmed one more case in Yangon. Case-15 is a 45 years old Burmese woman from Bahan Township, Yangon, who works at a private clinic providing healthcare to foreigners. She started having the symptoms of fever, sore throat, and coughing on 27 March 2020 and sought medical attention at the Department of Public Health in Bahan on 30 March 2020. Subsequently, she was referred to West Yangon General Hospital as a suspected case and her lab test results were confirmed as positive on the next day.
10-Mar-2020 State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi advised against complacency, urging people to strictly follow the Ministry of Health and Sports' (MOHS) advice on preventing the disease.
13-Mar-2020 The President Office issued a statement March 13 which says that a COVID-19 national-level central committee for preventing and containing the virus has been set up and will be led by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
The COVID-19 central committee has 22 members including the State Counsellor and other members are union cabinet ministers and permanent secretaries of the Union Government Office.
The press statement further says that this central committee will work for prevention and containment of severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19 virus, monitoring quarantined patients and suspect cases, providing educational awareness to the public and travellers on this virus, disseminating news on this virus, prevention, monitoring and cure of this disease and supervising the work in this regard and for the importing of required medical equipment in time.
President Office issued another press statement dated March 13 which says that public events and festivals including the forthcoming Thingyan water festival which will draw huge crowds will be banned from March 13 to the end of April as this COVID-19 virus can transmit and spread easily and rapidly in such public events large crowds. The press statement further says that the period for banning such public events with large crowds may be extended as and when required.
14-Mar-2020 Myanmar has imposed new rules banning and restricting travelers from China, South Korea and parts of Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic.
19-Mar-2020 Myanmar on March 19 suspended entry of foreigners at its border gates as part of its measures to prevent the entry of the new coronavirus, which has afflicted nearly 220,000 people in 159 countries and territories. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that all foreign nationals with valid visas can enter Myanmar only through Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay international airports “in accordance with existing rules and regulations.”
21-Mar-2020 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 21 temporarily stopped issuing visa-on-arrival and e-visa for all countries, as part of new restrictions to foreign visitors. Likewise, all travellers including Myanmar nationals, who have passed through or visited the United States, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, during the past 14 days, will be subject to a 14-day facility quarantine. Diplomats accredited to Myanmar and resident UN officials, are encouraged to take a 14-day home quarantine upon arrival.
The Yangon Region government has prepared 500 apartment units and two 300-bed hospitals for quarantine purposes, should the COVID-19 virus strike the city, according to Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein on March 21. “There aren’t any patients in Yangon at the moment, but we have made 500 apartments available for quarantine purposes. Wai Bar Gi Hospital will only support a few patients. We are preparing two 300-bed hospitals to help quarantine those with the virus, in coordination with the Yangon General Hospital,” he said at a COVID-19 donation ceremony. 24-Mar-2020 The government on March 24 announced that all foreign nationals arriving in Myanmar must present a medical certificate showing they had no acute respiratory illness (fever, cough or shortness of breath) before boarding their flight. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Civil Aviation also said that all foreign travellers will have to undergo a 14-day facility quarantine.
26-Mar-2020 The Office of the President has ordered the country's civil servants to work on a rotational basis, with only half of them in the office at one time, as part of measures to fight COVID-19, a senior official said on March 26. U Myo Tint Tun, deputy permanent secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, said the order was issued on March 25 to take effect on March 26.
28-Mar-2020 The Yangon International Airport will restrict the public's access to its terminal buildings in accordance with the Department of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Health and Sports. From Sunday (March 29) onwards, only air travelers with valid air tickets and staff on duty will be permitted to enter the airport premises, YIA said on March 28. Those seeing off or welcoming passengers will not be allowed to access the terminals.
Restaurants in Yangon have been asked to close immediately and operate take-away services only, according to a letter signed by the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) and delivered by hand to restaurant owners on March 29 morning, a day after the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Myanmar rose to eight.
Mandalay city ordered the shutdown of 41 big markets, and Dawei city in Tanintharyi region closed its famed beaches as Myanmar's bid to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak leveled-up on March 28. U Kyaw San Myint, a member of the Mandalay City Development Committee, said the closure of 41 big markets starts on Saturday evening. All the vendors in the affected markets agreed to shut down, he said, as the second largest city in Myanmar steps up the fight against the pneumonia-like disease that has spread to 177 countries.
29-Mar-2020 Myanmar on March 29 stopped issuing all types of visas to all foreign nationals to further strengthen measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has also suspended visa exemptions granted to all foreign nationals on bilateral arrangements, such as those from the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, except those holding diplomatic and official passport, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Other exceptions to the visa suspension are those diplomats accredited to Myanmar, United Nations officials resident in Myanmar and crew of ships and aircraft operating to and from Myanmar, the statement said. The suspension will be in force until further notice.
Myanmar is no longer allowing the landing of all international commercial passenger flights in all Myanmar airports to prevent the importation of COVID-19 via air travel, according to a March 29 notice from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), with reference to a directive from the Ministry of Health and Sports. The temporary measures will be effective at 11:59pm March 30 until 11:59pm April 13. Previous landing permissions granted by the DCA will also be suspended, the statement said. However, the measures will not affect relief flights, medical evacuation flights, all-cargo flights, and special flights which received approval from the DCA. Myanmar Airways International also announced that it will no longer be able to accommodate any inbound passengers, including Myanmar citizens stranded abroad effective 11:59pm March 30 until 11:59pm April 13.
The government is reminding business owners who wish to apply for emergency loans from a K100 billion fund set up to help deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Myanmar's economy that they must submit their applications by April 9. The loans will be directed to business owners who are experiencing difficulties paying their employees in three prioritised sectors - SMEs operating under the piece-work system, travel agencies, hotels, food-production businesses, and commodity trading businesses.
31-Mar-2020 President U Win Myint on Tuesday formed an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate response against the rising COVID-19 cases in the country, which has infected 15 people, including one who died from the deadly disease. The Committee for Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) will oversee the emergency response of the government against the disease that has spread to 177 countries. Among the functions of the committee is to investigate the people who have contact with persons infected with the disease and to test and quarantine them as soon as possible.
01-Apr-2020 State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi activated her dormant Facebook account to provide people with information about the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
03-Apr-2020 State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on April 3 warned authorities will prosecute people engaged in hoarding food, as well as those who evade quarantine. The Myanmar leader said these people violate the existing regulations the government instituted in a bid to fight the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Myanmar’s second most populous city, Mandalay, will stop entry and exit of all kinds of vehicles from April 7 to 21 to boost efforts to restrict travel around the region aimed at preventing the COVID-19 outbreak. The city government will shut down all hotels and guesthouses for the same period, the mayor added. In addition, all shops would also be shut down from April 7 to 21, except those that sell basic commodities and medicine. The Yangon government on April 3 urged people to stay at home during the 10-day Thingyan Festival holiday, except those who are involved in COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment activities. The Yangon regional government committee on COVID-19 instructed officials of the 45 townships in the region to tell their constituents not to go outside from April 10 to 19, except when buying food and medicines.
Myanmar has appealed for help from the international community for medical equipment and supplies as the country steps up its efforts to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, April 3, in a statement to foreign embassies, that aside from medical equipment and supplies, the Health Ministry needs more COVID-19 test kits to boost its surveillance capacity in monitoring persons suspected of suffering from the pneumonia-like disease.
Yangon was placed in lockdown in September in response to record increase in cases. This strict stay-at-home order barred all non-essential travel and closed all but essential businesses in the city.
After the coup d'état on February 1, testing collapsed and the medical response to COVID-19 in the country became severely hampered as part of the ongoing protests and civil disobedience movement in the country, including from health workers. It is thought that infection rates have been underestimated and vaccination programme slowed since the coup.
Vietnam announced it would send $50,000 to Myanmar worth supplies, including medical tests, to aid the Burmese authorities handling the outbreak, becoming the first country to do so. Later, India and China stepped up for vaccines, with China agreed to roll out over 300,000 doses for Myanmar while India also donated 1,5 million doses to the country. Before the coup occurred on February 2021, the International Monetary Fund also sent over 350 million dollars to help Myanmar combat against the pandemic without refund.
On 3 May 2021, China sent over 500.000 vaccines made by Chinese firms Sinovac and Sinopharm to Myanmar in order to combat the pandemic and to demonstrate the friendship (Paukphaw), however many Burmese protesters considered it as a sham show and a clear sign of China's open support to the military junta.
New confirmed cases per day in Myanmar
Cases per day
Recoveries cases in Myanmar
Death cases in Myanmar
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- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Reports (Myanmar)
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- Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases and historical data by Johns Hopkins University