Govt Won’t Open Friendship Bridge In Tachilek

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The Tachilek government announced the Friendship Bridge-1 connecting Burma to Thailand will remain closed.

Burmese officials met with their Thai counterparts this Tuesday (June 23) in the border town in southern Shan State to discuss whether or not to open the border. 

Chan Myae Saw, general administration development (GAD) officer for Tachilek Township, told SHAN that the Thai officials asked “about the health situation” of COVID-19 in Burma. “At the moment, neither country can open the Friendship Bridge,” he says.

The bridge connecting Tachilek to the Thai city of Mae Sai has been closed for over three months or since March 23, the same day Burma confirmed its first COVID-19 cases.

Currently, Chan Myae Saw says there’s no plan for the bridge to be opened. “We’ll open it after this pandemic is over, but I don’t know exactly when that will be.”

The closure of the bridge has been particularly difficult for Tachilek residents, who rely on trade and tourism with neighboring Thailand.

A woman, who lives in Tachilek’s San Sai ward, told SHAN because they can’t go to Mae Sai to buy goods the shops are unable to stock their shelves with products from Thailand. “We can’t do anything because the bridge is closed because the coronavirus is spreading.”

On June 27, the Ministry of Health and Sports reported there were 293 confirmed cases, while 215 have recovered and 6 died.

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