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KIO Lifts Mandatory Quarantine

KIO quarantine camp near Laiza. Photo: KIO

The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) got rid of a mandatory quarantine in Burma’s Kachin State.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers were required to stay at one of the ethnic armed organizations (EAO) quarantine centers for 21-days. No quarantine is now necessary unless an individual is exhibiting symptoms related to the novel coronavirus, in which case only a five-day stay in isolation is required.

Col Hing Wawm, spokesperson for KIO’s COVID-19 Response Committee, said: “Travelers with normal body temperature do not need to stay in a quarantine center, but individuals with a high body temperature and returning from a country with a COVID-19 outbreak must stay in a quarantine center for five days.”

While mandatory quarantine has ended since August 16, Heng Wawm said KIO medics will continue to check travelers’ temperatures. After KIO implemented the quarantining ordinance, he said fewer people traveled in the border areas.

On August 17, there were 41 staying in KIO’s quarantine facilities, including 3 in Maisak Pa, 20 in Mung Lai Hkyet, and 18 in Mai Ja Yang.

KIO has over 10 quarantine facilities. No-one tested positive for COVID-19, although more than 2,500 were quarantined.

On May 13, the Kachin State government gave the KIO a donation of 570,000 kyat (US$420) and personal protective equipment (PPEs) to use for COVID-19 prevention. Later it was all returned after a misunderstanding ensued suggesting the EAO had requested it rather than being provided as a donation.

Maj-Gen Khun Thant Zaw Htoo, Office of Commander-in-Chief of Burma Army gave PPEs to KIO on May 20, which the EAO accepted.

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