Coronavirus: Worries in Asia

Myanmar restricts entry to capital as infections surge

Anyone entering Naypyitaw will be quarantined, tested, and allowed entry only if their result is negative.
Anyone entering Naypyitaw will be quarantined, tested, and allowed entry only if their result is negative.PHOTO: AFP

YANGON • Myanmar has imposed mandatory quarantine and coronavirus tests for visitors to its capital Naypyitaw after the country reported dozens more infections on Wednesday and leader Aung San Suu Kyi warned of a "disaster for the country".

Anyone entering the city will be quarantined, tested and allowed entry only if their test result is negative, according to a government order published on Facebook.

People coming from the country's worst-hit areas will be quarantined in a facility for at least seven days, said the order by the Naypyitaw Council, while others will be allowed to leave earlier if they test negative.

Myanmar reported its first local transmission in a month in the middle of last month, in the restive western Rakhine state. Since then, the number of cases has roughly doubled to 1,059 infections and six deaths, according to government data.

The majority of the cases and deaths have been in Rakhine, where government troops are fighting ethnic insurgents and the authorities have imposed sweeping curbs on Internet access.

Most recent infections have been in that state's capital Sittwe, where officials have imposed a stay-at-home order and a curfew. Sittwe is also home to camps where about 100,000 Rohingya Muslims have been confined since an outbreak of violence in 2012. Rohingya are mostly denied citizenship and face strict curbs on movement and access to healthcare.

But infections have been found across the country including in the biggest city, Yangon. The authorities imposed a partial lockdown in parts of Yangon on Tuesday, ordering residents of the worst-hit townships to stay at home other than for essential journeys.

Ms Suu Kyi said those who disobeyed instructions would face punishment under the Natural Disaster Law, which carries prison terms of up to a year.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2020, with the headline 'Myanmar restricts entry to capital as infections surge'. Print Edition | Subscribe