The public health department in Kachin State set up medical checks at the Kambaiti and Loije border gates to China on Monday in response to the spread of coronavirus throughout the region.
There have been government requests to close the border with Kachin State’s northern neighbor over health fears.
“These border gates are set up by the Union government. So we cannot close these gates. But we have already sent our request to the Union government to close the border gates. We have yet to receive any order from the Union government about whether to close the border gates,” Zaw Win, Kachin State’s immigration minister, told KNG.
Of concern, he added, are the at least 20 unofficial border crossings between Kachin State and China, which cannot be closed in the same way that the two official border gates can.
The minister also said that the authorities are closely monitoring tourists in Bhamo, Myitkyina and Putao airports and hotels.
Zaw Win said that two suspected cases of coronavirus have been found in Tengchong town in China’s Yunnan Province, which borders Kambaiti in Kachin State. Chinese officials are reportedly closely monitoring the 31-year-old man and 48-year-old woman.
There are also suspected cases of the illness in Ruili town in Yunnan, which borders northern Shan State’s Muse. Chinese officials have closed casinos and hotels in Ruili in response.
No cases of coronavirus have been reported in Burma yet, although it has been documented in more than 12 countries. At the time of reporting, there were 5,500 cases, mostly in China, where 130 people have also died from the illness.
It was first found in Wuhan, China, in December.