Mandalay to Screen Chinese Visitors Amid Coronavirus Scare

By Myat Pyae Phyo 31 January 2020

Mandalay – The Mandalay regional government will investigate the activities of 73 Chinese citizens from Wuhan – where the coronavirus outbreak began – in order to detect any suspected cases, according to acting Chief Minister U Zarni Aung. 

A tour group arrived by plane in Yangon from Wuhan on Jan. 23 and then visited Mandalay. After most of the airlines operating between Mandalay and China suspended flights, the Chinese Embassy contacted the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which sent a plane and took the visitors back on Jan. 28. 

On Wednesday, the Mandalay regional authorities met to discuss any threat that the coronavirus might pose to the region. At the meeting, U Zarni Aung ordered that the places where Chinese travelers stayed and visited be recorded so that the authorities could take preventative measures. 

The regional government has formed a surveillance response team in response to the coronavirus in China. The team is led by Mandalay Mayor Dr. Ye Lwin and includes officials from the Health Department, General Administration Department and Directorate of Hotels and Tourism. 

The team is tasked with screening Chinese travelers who enter the region and to raise public awareness about the virus. 

U Zarni Aung also urged the owners of hotels with Chinese guests to inform the authorities if they find suspicious health conditions. 

“As the virus has spread across China, for the time being we are not accepting Chinese guests. We have even canceled reservations from Chinese guests,” operations manager Ko Thet Swe Oo of the Sakura Princess Hotel in Chanayethazan Township told The Irrawaddy. 

According to the National Health Commission of China, the number of confirmed infections of the virus climbed to 9,692 by Jan. 30, including 213 deaths, on the Chinese mainland. 

There were also 4,812 new suspected cases reported on Jan. 30, pushing the total to 15,238, according to the commission. The virus has spread to at least 15 other countries. 

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

No confirmed case has been reported in Myanmar, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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