Myanmar is facing it’s first “shutdown” because of COVID-19. With the amount of infected at only 22 with 3 deaths as of April 8th, Myanmar government fights to stop the spread of the virus by canceling the biggest celebration of the year.
The new year celebration known locally as Thingyan Water Festival usually has millions hitting the streets to enjoy live music, water fights, and general rivalry. This year because of the threat of the spread of the virus the government has said that everyone needs to stay home. The festival time is a big opportunity for small vendors who are making daily wages to make a lot of money. The government has seen how the virus has already taken it’s toll on the economy and has pledged to offer free food to those who have lost day wage earnings during this time.
Millions of Myanmar people are in already in poverty with many who depend on inconsistent daily wages as food vendors and low skill laborers.
The food, the government will provide is 5 items: rice, cooking oil, salt, beans, and onions. Onions? That’s another story all together. Onions have been a hot topic for the past months as farmers as onion exports have fallen 70% over the last two years, prices have plunged and farmers can’t export to China because of COVID-19.