Myitkyina residents demand Chinese border closure

Seng Htoi Zin / February 24, 2020

Hundred of residents in the Kachin State capital Myitkyina have demanded local authorities to close the Chinese border checkpoints, a move to ward off the spreading of deadly disease Novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Over 300 demonstrators gathered infront of the Sein Mya Aya park in Myitkyina today to block a Chinese commercial convoy which is reportedly entering Burma from China via Kampaiti pass, about 60 kilometers northeast of Myitkyina.

“Everyday we see and hear how bad the disease is and, it is easy to die,” Yan Aung Soe, one of the demonstrator told The Kachin Post. “Even when big cars are coming in, we are afraid of outbreak in our town,” he added.

Protesters are concerned that the Chinese border would be abundant of coronavirus-infected Chinese who might influx into Burma via three official border checkpoints; Kampaiti, Pang Wa and Loije. Myitkyina residents are also concerned that many Chinese tourists are reportedly waiting to enter Burma  via Laiza, another border gate controlled by Kachin Independence Organization.

The public knowledge of the deadly virus is very important and we live very near to the Chinese border, said Daw Htoo, one the leader of protesters. We don’t know who is carrying the virus and crossing the border, she said.

Burmese Ministry of Health recently issued public warning that Burma has been at risk of coronavirus outbreak and advise people to avoid mass gathering. Citizens have been calling Burmese authorities to impose temporary Chinese border closure along the Kachin State.

Coronavirus is currently spreading into 33 countries with over 70,000 infected, over 2,000 dead and about 25,000 have been recovered, according to the latest reports.