The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on 1st February that it has temporarily suspended issuing visas on arrival to Chinese citizens. According to a pre-negotiated meeting of the Central Committee on pneumonia Coronavirus Control on January 31st decided by Secretary of the Foreign Ministry’s permanent secretary U Soe Han.
U Soe Han Said “We have decided to stop until the situation is good,” He said China had temporarily suspended issuing visas, but there was no ban on air traffic. In addition, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has negotiated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to temporarily suspend the Chinese tourists arriving in the country and also advised to Myanmar citizens to avoid traveling who has the plan to visit China.
Although the tourism sector is affected, health is also important. We want temporary closure of the visa as well as the border. In Myanmar, the treatment costs will be much higher than the travel costs. If we can handle this issue well and if the situation was fine, it is not just Chinese citizens, other citizens will return. As it is 80 % of the impact, it’s a big percentage for the Tourism” said Khin Aung Tun, vice president of Myanmar Tourism Federation.
On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the global outbreak of the virus, which has been reported in Wuhan, China. The Myanmar government has allowed Chinese tourists to visit the country with an arrival visa and also allow travelers from Hong Kong and Macau to visit with free visas on October 1, 2018.
There are 1,930,425 tourists visited Myanmar in 2019. In these tourists, 749,719 are Chinese citizens.
The Chinese government has controlled its’ citizens current in traveling and some airlines which have been flying between Myanmar and China are under control as well, said Khin Maung Soe, director-general of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.