As the coronavirus spreads in China, fruit wholesalers in Muse, on the Shan State-China border have been asked to temporarily stop exports to Burma’s northern neighbor.
Sai Khin Maung, chairperson of the local Wholesalers’ Association, said that it is difficult to send vehicles across the border with goods to sell.
“Chinese officials have strictly tightened security at the border entrance gates. Transportation is really difficult at this moment,” he told SHAN.
With the aim of containing the coronavirus, China closed hotels and casinos in Ruili town, which is opposite Muse in Yunnan Province, on January 26.
According to a statement by the Wholesalers’ Association, Chinese officials had already blocked roads heading into Ruili.
“Chinese officials have restricted travel on the China side [of the border], so we don’t want our traders losing out. That’s why we made the announcement that they not come into Muse with their fruits,” Sai Khin Maung said of rural fruit growers outside of Muse. “We don’t want them to spend extra money for transportation charges and duty tax,” he added.
He recommended that traders from Burma wait to export their fruits to China after the coronavirus had been contained.
According to locals, the Sin-Phyu, Shwe Nandaw, Mang Weing and Panhsai gates are still open between the two countries but there is almost no one passing through.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, fruit traders exported nearly 400 vehicles filled with fruit to China everyday.
More than 7,700 people have been diagnosed with the virus, nearly all of whom are in China, More than 170 people had died from the illness at the time of reporting. The coronavirus was first identified in the city of Wuhan in December 2019.