New coronavirus 2019 has originated endemically in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, central China, in late last year, however, regrettably continued to spread both inside and outside China to other countries across the globe until the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it ‘pandemic’ in March 2020.
Since then, governments have stringently imposed preventative orders and instructions including travel restrictions in almost all the countries. Therefore, people simply could not enter in and depart to another city or country through international gateways such as airports and seaports as well as land borders between the neighbouring countries.
Sadly, the viral infection does not care for all these human-stipulated limitations and it keeps spreading undisturbedly as much possible as it can. Yet, people capitulate to the barring of departure or entry domestically and between one country and others as well. It has consequently led many people to be stranded in foreign lands with difficult mobility.
In the meantime, as they were unable to lift travel restrictions widely and country-wisely as before, governments turn to find a solution to repatriate their citizens to respective home-countries on a basis of relief flights under their systematic arrangement in addition to bilateral collaborative actions since the stranded are in dire need of return.
Recent online discussions between the State Counsellor and three ambassadors of Thailand, the Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of China has indicated how the Union Government is sparing no arduous efforts to bring back Myanmar citizens from the respective countries where they were stranded owing to no inbound and outbound flights as well as shutting down of land borders in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.
The State Counsellor stressed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responsible for making that happen and that Myanmar embassies played a crucial role in implementing the policies and directives properly issued by the MOFA. Thus, Myanmar citizens can rely upon them whatever countries they might be in and however difficult they might be there in the wake of the pandemic. Five-digit number of returnees has so far arrived back and they all have to undergo necessary quarantine procedures specified by the Ministry of Health and Sports — 21-day facility-quarantine plus 7-day home-quarantine.
Apart from health authorities responsible for screening and examination of the pathogen, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population has been monitoring and overseeing the immigration process and migrant labour issues at the airports and land border checkpoints through which all returnees are at present being brought back home by relief flights systematically arranged by the Union Government in collaboration with respective countries.
“You are the best protector against COVID”, said the State Counsellor. Therefore, all citizens inclusive of returnees should be always vigilant during this time of the coronavirus pandemic as we are the best protectors against it.