China closed its border with Myanmar on Thursday afternoon, following a spike in COVID-19 cases in border towns and northern Shan State.
Traders in Muse said the Jin San Jiao gate, which was the only one still open, was closed on Thursday, although no formal letter on the closure has been sent from China.
The Jin San Jiao gate, about 10km from Muse, was mainly used to export fruit to China. After China shut the majority of gates in Shan and Kachin states to block the spread of COVID-19, all commodities, including rice, fishery products, onions, corn, beans and other vegetables, were being exported through Jin San Jiao.
Just 30 trucks were allowed to enter China per day. Some 1,000 trucks are now stranded at Jin San Jiao.
“We don’t know for how long the Chinese will close the border. If coronavirus can be contained, they may reopen after two weeks,” said Sai Khin Maung, the vice-chairman of the fruit exchange in Muse. He expects key imports, such as medicines, will still be allowed into Myanmar.
The Yunnan provincial government has imposed travel restrictions on Ruili – the Chinese town opposite Muse – after three COVID-19 cases, including two citizens from China and one from Myanmar — were reported in Ruili on Saturday. More coronavirus cases were reported in Muse.
COVID-19 infections have spiked in Myanmar since May. In Shan State, there were more than 1,500 COVID-19 positive cases with more than 4,000 people having close contact with someone infected from June 28 to July 5.
On Wednesday, Myanmar’s junta-controlled Ministry of Health and Sports reported 57 coronavirus fatalities, the highest death toll since the Feb. 1 coup.
Myanmar on Thursday reported 4,132 new COVID-19 cases with 51 deaths after 14,927 swab tests were carried out.
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