This policy brief forms part of the International Growth Centre project 'Policy options for Government of Myanmar to provide economic support to households in response to COVID-19'. The Government of Myanmar(GoM)is quite constrained in the extent to which it can provide effective and well-targeted economic support to workers, households and businesses. Therefore, GoM should be very cautious of introducing health measures that have a large negative impact on economic activity, employment and incomes. Short-term employment and labour intensification programmes can build on systems that are already in place, be rolled out quickly and be self-targeting. Myanmar should prioritise such programmes in the short-term, as they can provide immediate and effective support to those most in need.

Effective governance is the factor that matters most in determining how effectively a country copes with COVID-19. Governance in Myanmar can be enhanced by increased collaboration with civil society, empowering subnational and local authorities, and building public trust. As and when Myanmar can start looking ahead to moving from coping to recovery, it will be important to draw on good monitoring and evaluation of the health and economic response to COVID-19 and consider the implications of the response for the design and implementation of medium and longer term strategies.