Publication Date: 07/06/2020
As of 7 June 2020, there have been 228 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Myanmar,1 and new cases continue to be confirmed.2 Myanmar’s humanitarian and conflict dynamics, high poverty rate, flow of returning migrants, high numbers of internally displaced people and urban slum-dwellers, and high proportion of workers in the informal sector present a range of challenges in the context of COVID-19. These factors tend to make prevention and control measures more difficult, while also intensifying the potential impacts of a larger outbreak, if it were to occur.
Despite the relatively low number of verified cases within its borders to date, the pandemic has already had an outsized economic impact in Myanmar. Migrant workers, informal sector workers including sex workers, and garment sector workers have all been disproportionately affected. Women in Myanmar have traditionally been under-represented in public decision-making processes, a trend which is continuing in structures established to respond to COVID-19. This means that even as women are disproportionately affected by the crisis, they have less say in how their communities and country respond to it, increasing the risk of a COVID-19 response that does not adequately address the needs and priorities of the most vulnerable women and girls.