Burma

Myanmar Postpones Gem Emporium Amid Coronavirus Scare

By Kyaw Myo 18 February 2020

Naypyitaw – Myanmar has postponed the 57th jade and gems emporium due to be held in Naypyitaw in March because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“As most of the regular buyers are from mainland China and Hong Kong, we have difficulties in organizing this event while China still can’t control the virus,” U Min Thu, secretary of the central committee for organizing the emporium, told The Irrawaddy.

The Myanmar Gems and Jewelry Entrepreneurs Association consulted its Chinese counterparts, who agreed to the postponement because of travel difficulties.

The vice chairman of the association, U Zaw Bo Khant, said the organization made suggestions to the central committee that the emporium be postponed.

“Travel restrictions are being imposed in China. Staff in Myanmar may have concerns engaging with Chinese traders if they come. Business owners and government officials consulted and decided to postpone the event,” said U Zaw Bo Khant.

Lower House lawmaker for Pyinmana Township U Than Soe Aung agreed to the postponement, saying that the event should be organized only after the virus was under control.

“People have concerns about the emporium. Restrictions are being imposed on the border. We welcome the postponement while we are on red alert for public health,” said U Than Soe Aung.

The death toll from the coronavirus in China exceeded 1,800 on Tuesday and most of the deaths were reported in Wuhan and Hubei, the center of the outbreak.

Across the country, there were over 70,000 confirmed infections. The virus has spread across China and to at least 20 other countries.

Myanmar recorded sales revenues of more than 400 million euros (626 billion kyats) at the jade and gems emporium in March 2019. The sales at the other emporium held in September exceeded 500 million euros (782 billion kyats).

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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