Myanmar suspends incoming passenger flights in Covid-19 fight

Myanmar will suspend all incoming international flights for two weeks starting Monday in a bid to prevent the “importation” of Covid-19 cases.

“Landing at any airport in Myanmar will not be allowed for all international commercial passenger flights,” the Department of Civil Aviation said in a statement Sunday. 

“All landing permissions previously granted by the Department of Civil Aviation are suspended,” it added.   

Win Khant, permanent secretary of the transport ministry, told Myanmar Now that the suspension followed a special request by the health ministry on Saturday night. 

Outbound flights will be permitted on a case by case basis at the request of foreign governments, Win Khant said. 

The ban is set to end April 13, but does not cover cargo planes or flights for medical evacuations or relief, while other incoming flights can still be “specially approved” by the Department of Civil Aviation. 

Crew members from such flights are subject to quarantine requirements if they have to spend the night in the country. 

The suspension does not apply to local flights, Win Khant said.

“It is only for international flights because all cases are imported,” he told Myanmar Now. 

Myanmar has so far reported eight cases of the novel coronavirus, seven of which involve individuals who recently travelled from the US, the UK, Australia, or Switzerland. 

The government has also suspended all types of visas from all countries starting Sunday until the end of April, the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement Saturday.

The suspension includes social visas and visa exemptions granted under bilateral agreements, the statement added. 

But the government is making an exception for diplomats and UN staffers who live in Myanmar and ship and aircraft crew members.

(Writing by Tin Htet Paing)


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