MYANMAR COUNTRY BRIEF as of 3/12/2020
Myanmar (Burma) (Yangon Region) is assessed as Low-Threat. As with any metropolitan city with a population of 6+ million, Yangon has seen an increase in crime. Nighttime robbery, petty street crime, home invasion, and homicide are at rates similar to other major cities in Southeast Asia.
Crimes reported to the Myanmar Tourist Police by foreign visitors mainly consist of pickpocketing, theft of unattended possessions in public places and bag snatchings.
Violent crime and the use of weapons in the commission of crimes are not common.
Internal ethnic conflicts, communal violence, and religious tensions make certain areas outside of Yangon more dangerous and some are off-limits to foreign travelers.
Yangon is listed as a MEDIUM-threat location for terrorism. The government is sensitive to the threat of terrorism and engages with international partners on this issue. There is no evidence to suggest that terrorist organizations have operational capacity in Myanmar. The government is not a state sponsor of terrorist activities and does not knowingly allow foreign fighters to transit the country. However, we are vigilant to the fact that terrorists can target Westerners anywhere in the world. While both Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS) and the Islamic State in the Philippines (ISIS-P) have threatened to launch attacks in Myanmar in response to the Rakhine crisis, so far those threats have not happened.
Yangon has been listed as being a HIGH-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting U.S. interests. There is a higher risk of political violence in other parts of the country. This political violence is limited primarily to states in Myanmar’s periphery. Fighting between the Burmese military (Tatmadaw) and various ethnic armed groups (EAGs) and militia forces continues in several border regions, including parts of Kachin, Shan, Rakhine, and Chin states. Fighting generally does not occur in the destinations our executives have frequented, including Yangon, Bagan, Loikaw, Mkitkyina, Kalaw-Inle Lake region, Ngapali Beach, Naypyitaw or Mandalay.
However, we remain very cautious and alert for sporadic violence when taking executives to Rakhine State, Chin State, Kachin State and Shan State. All of these areas have experienced sporadic armed conflict and unrest.
I meet with Myanmar Police and government security force leaders on a regular basis and we have a military liaison officer who reports to us on danger areas and conflict zones.
Although Myanmar has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of this date, all executives are met with a package containing hand-sanitizer, masks (surgical & N95) and an information card with phone numbers of local hospitals that have been vetted for the treatment of foreigners. We strongly recommend that all visiting executives have an International SOS card in case of the need for medical evacuation.
All of our Security Drivers have first aid training and are CPR certified. All of our vehicles carry first aid kits and I am implementing AEDs for our vehicles. All of our drivers conduct route surveys and are familiar with the locations of safe zones and where the clinics are that we feel are most suitable for treating foreign guests. All vehicles are also carrying a large bottle of hand sanitizer for executives use.
Burma has the ability to test for COVID-19 infections domestically.
There has been no change in the availability of fuel, food, or water in Myanmar due to COVID-19.
International flights from Myanmar to regional flight hubs remain mostly open and available. Some international flights to/from Myanmar, including some with China and South Korea, have been canceled due to low demand.
Myanmar has re-opened official land border crossings between China and Myanmar. Even though these land borders are open to commercial and tourist traffic, we do not recommend foreigners entering or exiting via these land borders. There are many unofficial border crossings on the China-Myanmar border not controlled by the Myanmar government.
Land borders with Thailand and India remain open to foreigners.
There has been no change in entry/exit visa requirements for Americans in Myanmar.
Some arriving Americans have reported being asked to submit to a COVID-19-focused health examination as part of their Myanmar visa renewal process.
The Myanmar government suspended the issuance of all visas-on-arrival for Chinese nationals. E-visas and visas issued at Myanmar Embassies for Chinese nationals remain available, but additional procedures apply prior to approval.
The Myanmar government HAS NOT instituted new entry/exit and visa controls for travelers from South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, or any other location.
The Myanmar government is conducting temperature and travel history screening at all airports. If a traveller arrives to Myanmar with a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius, they may be subject to quarantine at a Myanmar government public hospital.
Private businesses and schools in Myanmar remain open and are voluntarily conducting temperature screening. These institutions may deny services to individuals with fevers based on their own decisions.
The Myanmar government has established isolation units at most public hospitals across Myanmar. The quality of these isolation units may vary greatly from western hospital isolation units.
If any foreigner (including Americans) is quarantined for COVID-19, the location of the quarantine will be a Myanmar public hospital.
Depending on the severity of the suspected case, the Myanmar government may relocate COVID-19 patients to larger regional hospitals in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, or Mandalay.
If any American is quarantined for COVID-19, the quarantine may last for 14 days. During the quarantine, the U.S. Embassy will visit the patient subject to Myanmar government approval.
The Ministry of Health and Sports publishes data daily about COVID-19 on its website (https://mohs.gov.mm/Main/content/publication/2019-ncov)
India closes border with Myanmar
“As a precautionary measure (to prevent) transmission of Coronavirus/COVID-19, the international border with Myanmar has been closed... until further orders,” N. Biren Singh, chief minister of the north-eastern state of Manipur, which shares a border with Myanmar, said in a tweet on Tuesday.