YANGON, Myanmar

Myanmar on Monday imposed stricter restrictions in the country’s commercial capital Yangon as novel coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Toughened curfew orders on the region came into effect after a press release by the Ministry of Health and Sports late on Sunday. There are currently 5,805 cases of COVID-19 in the Southeast Asian country, along with 94 deaths as of Monday.

The stay-home orders affected the nearly all private businesses and organizations in Yangon, except some essential businesses including financial institutions and those involved in food and drug manufacturing.

It also ordered all factories in Yangon to remain closed from Sept. 24 to Oct. 7, affecting hundreds of thousands of impoverished garment workers in the region.

Moe Sandar Myint, who heads the Federation of Garment Workers in the country, said the order to close garment factories caused confusion among employers and employees.

“It didn’t include who would pay workers for lost wages during the two-weeks closure, and how the government would support them during these difficult days,” she told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

“It’s a big deal because most workers live from hand-to-mouth and they just can’t bare no income for two weeks.”

A garment factory owner in Yangon, who asked to remain anonymous, said the government should have consulted employee and employer representatives before the decision.

“Not only the workers, we’re also concerned about payment for lost wages because we’re not in a position to provide workers full payment in these days,” he said.

“We’re also severely hit by COVID-19,” he added.

He said more than 100 factories in Yangon had already been closed temporarily and permanently due to a lack of orders from buyers and retailers, leaving tens of thousands unemployed.

Myanmar has been in the grip of a resurgence of COVID-19 since mid-August, when a second wave erupted in the western Rakhine state.

Since the most cases were then found in Yangon, authorities imposed movement restrictions in early September that effectively disconnected it from other parts of the country.

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