Trade on the Sino and Burmese border has dropped following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov).
Businesses in Muse and Nam Kham townships have seen significant losses in profits in recent days, locals say.
Sai Mueng said border trading between China and Burma has stopped. The border with China is still open but businesses in Burma that rely on Chinese traders are suffering, he said.
“Chinese companies have stopped doing cross border trade after the spread of the coronavirus. This is impacting other businesses in the town of Muse. For example, bus fare has already increased, as well as other costs,” Sai Mueng told SHAN.
A collective taxi to Mandalay now costs 60,000 kyat (about US$42) for the front seat and 50,000 kyat (about US$34) for the back seat, Sai Mueng said.
“If there aren’t enough passengers traveling back from Mandalay the drivers won’t go unless they can earn more than 200,000 kyat (about US$138),” Sai Mueng said.
In Nam Kham, where he lives, the local market was empty of customers even though it’s only opened one day each week. “Normally, the vendors are busy but there are only sellers and no buyers,” Sai Mawng said.
A fruit vendor told SHAN many fruit vendors are traveling to Yangon instead of selling in Muse. “I don’t know when business will be good again.”
“Border trade has stopped,” said Khin Maung, chairman of Fruits Wholesale Center. “The problem is Chinese traders aren’t coming to buy goods anymore.”
Khin Maung remained hopeful things would pick up soon.
“I think business will improve after February 10. I heard more than 100 Chinese businessmen will come to the border.”
The coronavirus epidemic has spread to 28 countries, according to WHO. There are 28,339 infected with the virus. It has killed 565 people. There have been 1,208 cured of the virus.