Hello our dear wanderlusts, there might be a question that you’ve been wanting to ask for a very long time: Is there any place abroad where I can travel right now?
Well, the answer is yes. While much of Europe still remains closed to American tourists, a number of Caribbean, South and Central American, and African countries have re-opened their borders to U.S. travelers. That said, the entry requirements are all over the map, ranging from proof of a negative Covid-19 test to mandatory self- isolation to the need to adopt electronic trackers. What’s more, the U.S. State Department warns that foreign governments could change their restrictions with little notice, which means trip plans can easily go awry and Americans overseas might face unforeseen challenges coming back to the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which still maintains that staying home is the surest way to avoid getting or transmitting Covid-19, has issued country-specific advisories. More than 150 countries, including much of Europe, fall under the CDC’s sternest Level 4 advisory, which recommends avoiding all travel.
As for this article, it is for our travelers who are seeking to travel to Myanmar.
Myanmar is now under red alert. For people who are looking to travel to Myanmar, it is not the wisest decision at the moment. The Myanmar military has assumed control of the country and declared a state of emergency. Protest activity is widespread with security services responding, there have been fatalities and injuries. For foreigners who are now in Myanmar, you should minimize movement during the day and avoid known and possible places of protests. A curfew is in place from 8pm to 4am and daily. Internet outages occur from 1am to 9am in Yangon and other parts of the country. Power cuts and communications interruptions are being reported throughout the country, and more may follow. Stay at home during curfew hours. Government, civilian leaders and foreigners have been detained and there is a risk of further detentions. If you have concerns for your safety, you should consider leaving Myanmar on one of the limited international flights departing Yangon. Contact airlines directly for tickets. For foreigners remaining in Myanmar, be ready to shelter-in-place; have essential supplies and funds. Maintain heightened security awareness, register with DFAT, monitor the media, and keep in close contact with friends and family.
ALL TRAVELS TO MYANMAR ARE RESTRICTED TILL 31ST MARCH OR SO TILL FURTHER NOTICE.
Here are some updated information about COVID in Myanmar:
- As of March 4, 2021, Burma has confirmed 142,000 cases of COVID-19 within its borders and 3,200 deaths from the virus.
- Burma can test for COVID-19 infections domestically.
- There has been no change in the availability of fuel or water in Burma due to COVID-19. COVID-19 has disrupted the regular supply of some imported food products.
- Criminal penalties exist, and are being applied, for violating Burma’s virus-control efforts.
- On March 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post, including U.S. Embassy Rangoon, of U.S. personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at a higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.
- The U.S. Government has suspended all Peace Corps operations globally and Peace Corps volunteers in Burma returned to the United States.
- As a result of the recent military coup in Burma, COVID-19 restrictions and policies may change. At the moment, the military regime has not announced new COVID-19 policies. Previous COVID-19 orders should be followed until otherwise notified.
Can I travel to Myanmar right now?
- Entry: Effective March 30, 2020, Burmese authorities will no longer allow international commercial passenger flights to land at any airport in Burma. This suspension will last through March 31, 2021. All landing permissions previously granted are suspended. Exceptions apply to “relief flights, all-cargo flights, medical evacuation flights and special flights specifically approved by the Department of Civil Aviation.”
- On March 19, 2020, Burmese authorities announced the temporary suspension of entry and exit of foreign nationals through land borders. U.S. citizens cannot enter/exit Burma from/to any of Burma’s land borders with Thailand, Laos, China, India, and Bangladesh.
- U.S. citizens seeking to enter Burma should contact their nearest Burmese Embassy for further information on entry permissions. The U.S. Embassy cannot assist private U.S. citizens seeking to return to Burma.
- Exit: U.S. citizens seeking to depart Burma should consider purchasing a ticket on a flight from Yangon via Myanmar Airways International (MAI), Singapore Airlines, or Korean Air. Seats are available on multiple MAI, Singapore Airlines, and Korean Air flights.
- U.S. citizens departing Burma have noted that the Yangon International Airport has turned off the air conditioning and all shops are closed. U.S. citizens should prepare accordingly for these conditions for the hours before their flight departs.
If you are living in Myanmar:
U.S. citizens have reported being asked to submit to a COVID-19-focused health examination as part of their in-country Burmese visa renewal process.
Is there a curfew?
The military regime has instituted a ban on gatherings of five or more people, and a nationwide curfew from 8:00 P.M. until 4:00 A.M. that supersedes previous COVID-19 policies.
What about quarantine?
On July 30, 2020, Burmese authorities updated and implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, to include the following:
- All foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, must first self-quarantine in their countries of origin for seven days, quarantine in a government facility or designated hotel upon arriving for another 14 days, and then self-quarantine at home for seven days. These guidelines are subject to change without notice.
- Foreign nationals will also be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test issued within 72 hours of boarding and must be tested for COVID-19 at the end of the government facility quarantine and at the end of the home quarantine period. Those who arrive without results of a COVID-19 test issued within 72 hours of travel may be subjected to a 14-day government facility quarantine.
- Arriving foreign nationals must present evidence of the required pre-arrival self-quarantine. The U.S. Embassy does not have clarification on what documentation the government will accept as evidence of the various requirements, such as the pre-arrival self-quarantine.
- Foreign nationals planning to travel to Burma should contact their nearest Burmese Embassy prior to traveling to request approvals and clarification.
- Burmese authorities are not notifying the U.S. Embassy when a U.S. citizen is ordered into quarantine. If you are a U.S. citizen and are ordered in to COVID-19-related quarantine in Burma, please call the Embassy at 01-753-6509 or send an email at ACSRangoon@state.gov to notify.
- Burmese authorities have established isolation units at most public hospitals and other designated sites across Burma. The quality of these isolation units may vary greatly from U.S. hospital isolation units.
- If a U.S. citizen is quarantined for COVID-19, the location of the quarantine will be a Burmese public hospital, Buddhist monastery, or designated hotel. In most instances, you will not be able to choose your specific quarantine facility. The availability of quarantine facilities may be disrupted by worker strikes and business closures related to the recent military coup.
- If you are quarantined in a hotel, you will be charged for all hotel fees.
- If a U.S. citizen is quarantined for COVID-19, the facility quarantine may last for seven days, followed by a seven-day home quarantine. During the quarantine period, any U.S. Embassy assistance will be subject to Burmese authorities’ approval.
What is the transportation situation now in Myanmar?
- Some domestic flights resumed on December 16, 2020. A limited number of outbound commercial flights are operating on Myanmar Airways International (MAI), Singapore Airlines, and Korean Air. There are no commercial flights entering Burma currently.
- Trains: A limited number of train routes are operating.
- Buses: Intra-provincial bus service has restarted but may be limited due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. City buses are operating as normal.
Many countries—including Bermuda, Barbados, Colombia, Peru and Turkey—won’t let you enter without a proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within a few days of arrival. And as of Jan. 26, 2021, all airline passengers flying into the U.S., including Americans, must present a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of their departure from a foreign country or proof of recovery from coronavirus. Within the U.S., Hawaii, New York State, Connecticut and Chicago, among other places, let visitors opt out of a 10-day quarantine by showing proof of a recent Covid test. The good news is that tests are easier to come by. Test sites are now popping up in airports and a number of companies offer do-it-yourself home kits. But not all tests qualify for the exemption. Hawaii, for example, specifies the testing company it requires. For details on travel restrictions and testing requirements, consult the city or state’s official website for the most up-to-date information or the CDC’s Travel Planner.
Tips for those who had to travel during COVID
You may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may pose a risk to your family, friends, and community after your travel.
- Get Tested and Stay Home After Travel
- Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
- Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
- If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
- If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
- Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
- Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.
Also, take these actions after you return from travel to protect others from getting COVID-19:
- Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you. It’s important to do this everywhere — both indoors and outdoors.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public settings. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- If there are people in the household who did not travel with you, wear a mask and ask everyone in the household to wear masks in shared spaces inside your home for 14 days after travel.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness.
- Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19.