Earlier in this year the pandemic outbreak reached Myanmar and left a tremendous impact on businesses and people. Fortunately, our country has been doing a good job quarantining citizens and the health industry is doing the best they can to fight against the virus. The outcome has been great. So what changes can we expect from now in August?
Movie theatres will be reopening in three weeks
In a meeting led by state counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on the 28th of July, the business of the film industry has been focused on and well-discussed regarding the facts that the COVID-19 is still not a pandemic to be taken easily and there is no real cure to the virus yet. On the other hand, the meeting also stated that the state counsellor wants every business in the country to be back on track in no time. With respects to the film industry, they’ve discussed guidelines and safety precautions when it comes to filming and the crews. Understanding that the business of the film industry solely depends on the cinemas, they have been determined to get movie theatres to run again. The movie theatres will be carefully examined and safety booklets will be written to practice social distancing at the movies. Moreover, to improve the distance between viewers, only 50% of the tickets of respective seats will be sold.
Groups of 15 people allowed
It was announced that there shouldn’t be a gathering of 5 or more people in one place until 29th of July, when Dr Myint Htwe, Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) minister, Dr Myint declared that from the 1st of August, the limit will be increased to 15 or more people. Whether it’s travelling or an event being held, there should be less than 15 people in a place, especially in an enclosed location.
Flights and VISA
Since the 30th of March, all international commercial passenger flights were banned and it is obvious that it will still stay the same referring to what the world is facing right now. The ban has been extended until the 31st of August. However, there are pathways where foreign businesses and officials can make necessary travels and enter the country if permission is granted but it cannot be done without contacting the closest Myanmar embassy in advance.
With students, seamen and many other citizens trapped overseas amid the pandemic outbreak, it is inevitable for the government to take responsibility and arrange relief flights, special flights and even cargo flights despite the suspension of international airlines. State counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi stated that there will be 13 relief flights in August to bring approximately 1,800 citizens back to the country.
People who urgently need to go abroad must submit necessary personal documents to the airlines or to those who conduct special flights in advance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will let them know whether they have permission to travel by the airlines nevertheless citizens should make an agreement with the respective airlines and purchase their own tickets. Fortunately, citizens travelling to Thailand for medical treatment will be aided by MOFA for negotiations with the Thai Embassy for both patients and their caregivers. They will need to submit important personal documents and register with the airlines too. Citizens who have been approved for travel have to take a COVID-19 test at the National Health Laboratory in Yangon or the Public Health Laboratory in Mandalay, whichever is closer to them.
Reminder: Please carefully read the COVID-19 safety measures and the requirements for the immigration process of the country you are travelling to.
Travel to Bagan
The most famous tourist attractions in the archaeological zone of Bagan will be closed according to the statement of the Mandalay region. Citizens weren’t following the social distancing rules very well as vendors and pilgrims were seen around the pagodas and temples once there were less COVID-19. However, it wasn’t a favourable sight for the officials to see and unfortunately, the most popular pagodas and temples in Bagan will have to be closed temporarily.
Possible school reopening and education
The discussion was much more serious about our future leaders and their education. The state counsellor understood well that it would be risky to let schools run immediately but at the same time it wouldn’t be great to distance children from education and school for too long. Therefore, the government is working towards reopening the high schools ranked A. Schools are ranked as A, B and C according to their preparedness and safety measures. The main goal today is to get all high schools to run without any COVID19 cases. Only when it happens, the government will be able to move forward with their plan.
The state counsellor mentioned during the meeting that the COVID-19 is not a virus to be taken lightly. 60% of patients who were affected didn’t show any symptoms and that is why people should be more aware of themselves and applying social distancing rules in their daily lives. At the same time, she also mentioned that the country isn’t capable of dealing with more cases regarding its development. It’s better to be safe than sorry.