UN-Habitat COVID-19 Discussion Paper on Policy Options for Myanmar

The impact of COVID-19 is being most devastatingly felt in the world’s urban areas- among the 210 countries affected by COVID-19, 95 per cent of all cases are in urban areas. As states around the world instruct households to stay at home and practice physical distancing, realizing the right to adequate housing is now a matter of life and death for vulnerable urban communities around the globe.

This discussion paper brings to the forefront the centrality of housing as a critical infrastructure of healthcare, highlighting four key actions as critical to protect and prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the vulnerable urban poor in Myanmar:

1. Focus attention on informal settlements which are uniquely vulnerable to prevent the spread of COVID-19

2. End homelessness as a public health priority by identifying and allocating shelters for the homeless

3. Ensure that no resident is evicted or displaced by announcing a moratorium on evictions

4. Protect renters and homeowners by instituting an immediate rent freeze and negotiating mortgage holidays