Myanmar officially virus-free despite lockdown

Myanmar remains one of the only countries in Asia with no official cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Nevertheless, the country has redoubled its prevention efforts, banning travelers from the hardest-hit countries and pouring resources into domestic prevention efforts.

In a televised speech on Monday, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi maintained that Myanmar has been spared of the worldwide pandemic that has sent populations of countries around the world into quarantine and brought their economies to a standstill. The announcement came after several suspected victims tested negative for the virus. These include, most recently, a Myanmar man who, at a conference in France, came into contact with a Filipino man who later tested positive for the disease.

Nevertheless, the state counsellor urged Myanmar citizens to exercise an abundance of caution. The government has followed its own advice, recently banning all foreign travelers who have recently visited the Hubei province of China (home to the city of Wuhan, the apparent origin of the virus) and the Daegu and Gyeongbuk regions in South Korea. Nationals who have visited those areas are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Furthermore, anyone who has visited the countries of Italy, Iran, France, Spain or Germany in the last 14 days must provide a medical certificate or submit to quarantine in a public hospital.

Domestically, the government has closed preschools and daycares throughout the country and shuttered all cinemas until April 30.

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