To Prevent Covid-19, KIO Closes Border To Outsiders

By Network Media Group
Friday, April 3, 2020

To prevent the spread of Covid-19, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) closed several of its checkpoints along the Chinese border.

“We aren’t allowing outsiders to enter KIO’s controlled territory but we’re still permitting villagers to sell and buy things in our areas,” Col. Naw Bu, who is in charge of KIO’s information department, told NMG.

Restrictions have been applied to checkpoints in Laiza and Mai Ja Yang in Kachin State, Naw Bu said. Travellers from Myitkyina, capital of Kachin State, are still permitted to enter both areas after a medical inspection. But Naw Bu said if things get worse they will close the road from Myitkyina and Laiza.

The KIO formed a working committee to address the growing threat of the novel coronavirus and launched an awareness campaign for internally displaced populations and others following directives provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Burma’s Ministry of Health and Sports. As part of this initiative, medical checkups will be conducted in the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps and villages.

Col Naw Bu admitted it won’t be easy. “We have technical difficulties. There isn’t enough medical equipment and the IDP camps are crowded,” Naw Bu told NMG.

Since Covid-19 started in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province last year it has quickly spread around the world, prompting WHO to declare it a pandemic on March 11.

On April 3, there are 20 confirmed Covid-19 cases but numbers are likely to be much higher because testing in Burma has been limited. On March 31, a 69-year-old from Mingalar Taung Nyunt township in Yangon was the first confirmed death from the novel coronavirus.

Currently, there are 1,017,693 confirmed cases in 181 countries according to a Johns Hopkins University real-time map. The virus has killed 53,179. There have been 212,072 that have recovered.