Myanmar’s Response to COVID-19 and Disaster Risk Reduction
Myanmar confirmed its first two official cases of COVID-19 on 23 March 2020. On 31 March 2020, the National-level Central Committee for COVID-19 Prevention, Control and Treatment was formed with the Chairmanship of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Myanmar. A second committee, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Control and Emergency Response Committee was setup on March 30 led by the Vice President 1 to help with stricter administrative measures to control the spread of the virus including quarantining migrant workers coming from neighbouring countries.
Myanmar has 127,582 confirmed COVID-19 cases (2,766 deaths and 110,809 discharged) as of January 5, 2021. Local transmissions have been rapidly increasing in Rakhine State and Yangon Region in August 2020. Semi lockdown with stay-at-home instruction was issued for entire Rakhine State starting August 27, and for all townships except the isolated Cocogyun Township (located on a far island) in Yangon Region starting September 21.
Factories, especially in the garment sector, were instructed to close temporarily until October 21 which was relaxed on October 12 among all factories if they met Grade-A in preparation for virus prevention measures.
The Myanmar government has developed the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) consisting of seven goals, 10 strategies, 36 action plans and 76 actions that cover a range of emergency fiscal and monetary measures. The CERP seeks to mitigate the inevitable economic impact posed by COVID-19 while establishing a foundation to facilitate Myanmar’s rapid economic recovery. Under the CERP, Department of Disaster Management (DDM) has built the long house for quarantine centers upon request of the local governments. The water storage concrete tanks are built and water is provided for the places where there is some water scarcity. DDM has also provided cash assistance to the households in IDP camps.
DDM has developed the Guidance Notes on COVID-19 and Disaster Management for local communities as well as for IDP Camps and also distributed them to local governments for the DRR interventions.
DDM has distributed hand sanitizers, soaps, steel basins for hand washing, disposable gloves, masks, face shields to the local communities as well as to the households at IDP camps. DDM also conducted the awareness raising activities such as distribution of posters, pamphlets, announcing the prevention and preparedness measures on COVID-19 at the communities using hand speakers.