Myanmar Closes All Land Borders to Foreigners

By Zarni Mann 19 March 2020

Mandalay – Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Wednesday the closure of all border checkpoints to foreign tourists as a preventative measure against the coronavirus.

It said it had “temporarily suspended the entry of foreign nationals through any border checkpoint” until further notice.

The Indian border at Moreh-Tamu and Zokhawtar-Rikhawdar was already closed earlier this month.

The border checkpoints with China in Kachin State and northern Shan State and those with Thailand and Laos will now close.

Although COVID-19 has caused several thousand deaths globally, Myanmar has not confirmed any coronavirus cases yet.

Residents from both sides with border passes can still cross the border but health checks and body temperature screening would be enforced in both directions, the ministry said.

It said foreign tourists with a visa could still use Mandalay, Yangon and Naypyidaw international airports to arrive and depart.

Last week, Myanmar ordered a mandatory 14 days of quarantine and surveillance for arrivals from various infected countries, including China, Korea, Italy, Iran, France, Germany and Spain after the World Health Organization labelled COVID-19 a pandemic. Flights between China and Myanmar were suspended in February.

Myanmar has about 27 land checkpoints between Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. Not all the checkpoints are open to foreign tourists.

The two Indian checkpoints opened to international travelers in August 2018.

Checkpoints with Thailand at Mae Sai-Tachileik in Shan State; Mae Sot-Myawaddy in Karen State; Ranong-Kawthaung and Phunaron-Htee Kee in Tanintharyi Region opened in August 2013.

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said in 2019 that approximately 200,000 foreign tourists used Myanmar’s land borders per month. The majority of tourists came from China, Thailand, Australia, the UK, India, Malaysia and Singapore.

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