Myanmar cinemas ordered to close over global Covid-19 threat

The government has ordered all cinemas in Myanmar to close in its latest move to prevent the spread of the pandemic Covid-19 virus.

There are still no recorded Covid-19 cases in Myanmar. The order is only a ‘preventive measure,’ the information ministry told theatre owners.

Several cinema companies shared the message in social media posts announcing their closures on Monday.

The shutdown comes after the government on Friday banned large gatherings – including annual Thingyan celebrations – until at least April 30.

Myanmar’s biggest theatre chains – including Mingalar Group, JCGV, Mega Ace, Paradiso and Red Radiance – have all temporarily suspended ticket sales throughout the country.

JCGV, which has 31 screens across Myanmar, has closed its theatres indefinitely, customer relations manager Hein Ko Win told Myanmar Now.

According to the information ministry’s film promotion division, there are 213 movie screens in Myanmar.

Though seven patients are currently awaiting lab results, only two are suspected Covid-19 infections, according to the health and sports ministry. As of Monday evening, 123 people had tested negative.

On Sunday the foreign affairs ministry began imposing restrictions on travel into Myanmar from countries with high numbers of confirmed Covid-19 infections.

The government “is obliged to take precautionary measures to control and limit the risk that travellers from seriously-affected regions may pose to populations in Myanmar,” the ministry said in a statement.

Foreign nationals that have travelled in the past two weeks to China’s Hubei Province – the epicentre of the outbreak – or to Daegu or Gyeongbuk, two Covid-19 hot spots in South Korea, are currently barred from entering Myanmar completely.

Myanmar citizens that have travelled to such places in the last two weeks will be quarantined at government facilities for 14 days upon arrival.

Anyone travelling from areas in South Korea outside of Covid-19 hot spots, including Myanmar citizens, will also be required to self-quarantine at home or in hotel rooms for 14 days upon arrival.

Additionally, all travellers who have visited Italy, Iran, France, Spain or Germany in the past two weeks will also be quarantined in government facilities for 14 days upon arrival, according to the health ministry.

Travellers visiting or passing through any of these areas in the last two weeks will also have to obtain a medical certificate declaring them symptom-free before boarding.

Entry visas for diplomats and UN officials who have travelled to these countries in the last two weeks will be made on a case-by-case basis, the ministry said. Those allowed in will be asked to follow a 14-day home quarantine.

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