On 1 February 2021, a state of emergency was declared for a period of one year in Myanmar ("Declaration"). More than one year after the Declaration, Myanmar still remains under a state of emergency with a new caretaker government pledging to hold elections by August 2023.
In the commercial cities of Yangon and Mandalay, daily lives of the residents appear to have resumed subject to the COVID-19 restrictions, although armed conflicts in the rural regions have continued. At the same time, the number of reported COVID–19 infection cases appear to have lessened and more medical assistance is being made available. The electricity supply and internet connections continue to remain unstable which has posed significant operational challenges for a number of businesses.
In spite of a blend of diplomatic efforts and punitive sanctions from the international community, Myanmar is still mired in severe unrest and political uncertainty, with millions living below the poverty line. As threats of civil war loom, there have been efforts behind the scenes to ramp up humanitarian efforts across the country as the situation on the ground is widely expected to worsen in the coming months. Amidst the currently volatile political and socio-economic backdrop of Myanmar, we discuss in this Update the legal and regulatory developments that have taken place in the country in the second half of last year since the Declaration.