Melons rot, factories shutter: Myanmar’s COVID-19 fallout

Although Myanmar remained one of the rare countries without confirmed cases of COVID-19 on March 13, the national economy has not been immune to the impact of the coronavirus since it emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

In Myanmar, thousands of workers have been laid off as factories close or suspend operations, and the country faces the grim prospect of more big job losses, a further decline in trade, a fall in tourist arrivals, and a general downturn in the economy.

Garment factories have been particularly hard hit by a lose-lose situation. Raw materials supplied from China have been affected by factory closures there as well as supply chain disruptions, and demand for garments has slumped in Europe, the United States and other markets.

On March 11, as travel bans and other drastic measures were being imposed by an increasing number of countries, the World Health Organization confirmed that the spread of COVID-19 was a pandemic. Although authorities in China have largely managed to bring the virus under control, cases are growing exponentially in many countries, particularly in Europe.

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