Myanmar is making official arrangements for foreign investors and key employees locked out of the country due to COVID-19 to return for business purposes.
The country formally stopped all international commercial flights from landing since March 30, a week after the first cases of COVID-19 were detected. Officially, flights will remain suspended until July 31, but government officials have hinted this will likely be extended further.
At a July 7 Union-level meeting on tourism, Vice President U Henry Van Thio said international commercial flights are expected to be suspended until the “third quarter of the year.”
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has also hinted on social media that current COVID-19 measures, including the flight ban, could be extended by another two months to prevent a second wave of the virus.
However, there are several “fast lanes” through which”essential business and officials” can enter Myanmar upon request, U Tin Latt, Deputy Minister of Hotels and Tourism, told the Myanmar Times on July 19.
“The focal ministries have to make request for visas and quarantine [in Myanmar,” he said.
Those who need to travel to Myanmar for urgent official or business assignments should contact the nearest Myanmar embassy.
The updated quarantine requirements for incoming key business executives are to take an RT-PCR test and obtain a COVID-19 free health certificate 36 hours before boarding their flight to Myanmar.
A swab test must be conducted within one day of landing in Myanmar, followed by a five-day quarantine in a pre-arranged facility or hotel after the results return negative. Another swab test is required after these requirements are met.
Returning to work is permitted after each person secures a PCR negative test result. Medical expenses are to be borne by the returnee, with the cost per health check estimated to be around K200,000 (US$140), the Myanmar Times understands.
Prior to this, the requirements are key to business executives were to obtain a COVID-19 free health certificate 72 hours before boarding, take a swab test upon landing, complete a seven-day home quarantine after a negative result and take a second swab test after these requirements are met.
These arrangements have started with Japan and China and will be “extended to other countries based on their COVID-19 containment status,” U Tin Latt said.
The Embassy of Myanmar in Beijing has already set up a fast track system to facilitate Chinese nationals who plan to urgently return to Myanmar “on the grounds of [undertaking] business projects, economic activities, construction and other departmental assignments,” according to its July 13 statement.
Last month, 20 Japanese executives working on key development assistance and infrastructure projects in Myanmar were also permitted to return on an ANA relief flight.
The Malaysia Embassy in Myanmar and Malaysia-Myanmar Business Chamber [MMBC] have also facilitated the return of several Malaysians to the country on a case-by-case basis in recent months.
The latest arrangement was on July 16, when six Malaysian executives employed by companies based in Myanmar returned to the country via a Myanmar Airways International relief flight from Kuala Lumpur.
The executives are undergoing a seven-day quarantine at the City Hotel Yangon, although the embassy had also made a request for the quarantines to be undertaken at the Wyndham Grand Yangon Hotel, according to official correspondence between the embassy and the Ministry of Health and Sports.
Among those who wish to return, MMBC members and those recommended by the chamber will be given priority. However an upfront, non-refundable payment of 50 percent of the RM250 per year MMBC memberships fee must be paid upon approval. These can include those who are not Malaysian citizens, the Myanmar Times understands.
The standard operating procedures prepared by the Malaysians and seen by the Myanmar Times include a vetting processing “based on merit” by the Malaysian embassy. These are also subject to approval by the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In June, a total of 278 business visa holders entered Myanmar, up from 102 in May government figures show.
Myanmar has at 8am on July 20 reported 341 cases of COVID-19, with six deaths and 276 recoveries. A total of 102,499 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Myanmar. The virus has been detected mainly among Myanmar citizens returning from aboard in recent weeks.
More Details: https://www.mmtimes.com/news/special-arrangements-available-foreign-investors-key-personnel-enter-myanmar.html