Category Archives: Myanmar

Timeline: Myanmar’s Government Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Source: The Irrawaddy
Published on 26 May 2020

Myanmar gov’t provides social security benefits to COVID-19-affected workers

YANGON, May 26 (Xinhua) — Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population has provided social security benefits to a total of 26,305 workers of factories, workshops and workplaces affected by the restrictions against COVID-19 pandemic, said a ministry’s release on Tuesday.

“During the period of COVID-19 crisis, some factories and workshops had to shut down due to their own difficulties while some had to temporarily close for inspections by the authorities as part of health measures. We are doing this to show support to them,” U Myo Aung, permanent secretary of the ministry, told Xinhua.

As part of a move to contain the spread of COVID-19, all local factories had to close from April 20 to May 15 for mandatory inspections by the ministry concerned.

Workers from those factories who registered for social security under the Social Welfare Program will receive 40 percent of their salaries for the unemployed days in accordance with the Social Security Law, the ministry’s release said.

Meanwhile, Myanmar authorities offered employment to over 9,300 local people in regions and states in April, down from over 24,000 in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, the ministry’s figures said.

The ministry also announced suspension of sending migrant workers abroad and the issuance of employment contracts and overseas employment identity cards last month, as part of COVID-19 containment measures.

Source: Xinhua
Published on 26 May 2020

Migrants take hardest virus hit

Migrant workers in the kingdom have been hit hard by the economic impact of Covid-19.

The pandemic has affected the lives of millions around the world. The global death toll is over 348,000 and more than 5.6 million people have been infected.

Those not directly affected by the coronavirus are self-quarantining and it has impacted the global economy. As a result of businesses closing due to the outbreak, millions of people could lose their jobs.

 Here in Thailand, the government has recorded 3,045 confirmed cases with 57 deaths. Yet, many more are affected by Covid-19’s economic damage.

According to the Ministry of Labour, there are three million migrant labourers working in the kingdom with most hailing from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. They do not qualify for relief packages from the Thai government.

In Pattani province, Vi, 40, told the Bangkok Post she worked at a sardine factory before Covid-19 affected her livelihood.

The woman, who hails from Cambodia, said her husband, daughter and two sisters, are also in the kingdom and have lost their jobs.

She said she has not received any financial relief and the family is unable to return home due to border closures.

Vi said she lived a life full of hope with her husband and two sisters here in the kingdom before Covid-19 became a global problem.

She and her husband worked in the sardine facility in Pattani for four years.

The couple was able to earn 12,000 baht in combined income per month before the outbreak. It was enough to live on and send whatever was left back home.

They said that before the outbreak, 2,000 baht was sent to Cambodia every month and the rest went on living costs in Thailand.

Now their situation is different.

“My daughter can still breastfeed her baby,” Vi said. “Otherwise, our situation could have been harder.”

Vi said she and her husband had resigned because she had to take care of her grandchild, but when they tried to return, they were rejected by the employer.

“During Covid-19, it has been hard to find a job,” Vi said. “Business owners are not hiring workers.”

She said her family now depends on picking and selling her neighbours’ tamarind fruit.

“[The neighbours] are very kind,” Vi said. “All they ask is that I don’t fall out of a tree.”

She said now she’s able to make 400 baht per day, enough to pay for meals but not for rent, noting she is two months behind.

She said any income the family gets goes towards basic needs.

Adisorn Kerdmongkhon, a labour rights advocate, said migrant workers like Vi are hit harder than Thai workers.

“They cannot go home because of the travel ban and border closures, and no relief policy was prepared to help them,” he said.

“They can’t travel to other provinces either to find other jobs,” Mr Adisorn added. “They end up without incomes and starve.”

He said the government should find a way to extend help to migrant workers. It should include financial help, provisions and the distribution of information in their native language.

Mr Adisorn said the government should also allow them to return to their home countries.

Written by Penchan Charoensuthipan
Source: Bangkok Post
Published on 27 May 2020

2,326 Myanmar nationals stranded in foreign countries have returned

A total of 2,326 Myanmar nationals who were stranded in foreign countries due to the suspension of international commercial flights amid COVID-19 outbreak have been brought back home by relief flights so far, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Xinhua reported.

Plans are underway to bring more nationals back home from other foreign countries, an official said.

All returnees have to stay under quarantine at designated facilities or hotels in Yangon region for 21 days upon arrival.

There were 203 confirmed cases reported as of 26 May 2020, 6.50 am.

Source: Mizzima
Published on 26 May 2020

Some 10,000 Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand plan to return home via southern border

Some 10,000 Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand have planned to return home via a southern border province, said a senior Thai government official on Monday (May 25)

An estimated 10,000 Myanmar migrant workers have reportedly contacted the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok, seeking an official document with which they may leave Thailand for their home country via the southern province of Ranong, confirmed provincial governor Jatuphot Piyumputara.

Those migrant workers were strictly required to have their temperature checked up at a border checkpoint, wear face masks and keep social distancing order during their cross-border travel from a pier on Kra Buri River in Ranong province to Kawthoung township in southernmost Myanmar, the provincial governor said.

Nevertheless, Myanmar authorities in Kawthoung only allows a maximum of 100 Myanmar nationals to return home via Ranong daily, the provincial governor said.

A total of 67 Myanmar migrant workers were on Saturday transported by boat from Ranong to Kawthoung. Many more are expected to follow suit later this month and next, he said.

Meanwhile, Myanmar migrants may as well return home via Thailand’s western border district of Mae Sot, opposite Myawaddy township in southeastern Myanmar, and Thailand’s northern border district of Mae Sai, opposite Tachileik township in eastern Myanmar.

Many Myanmar migrants have been employed in fishing and food processing industries in a coastal province of Samut Sakhon and adjacent suburbs of Bangkok.

Source: The Star
Published on 25 May 2020

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