The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) has re-established medical checkpoints in its territory since COVID-19 has gone on the rise in Burma in recent weeks.
The RCSS had previously set up checkpoints in May, but police and security forces blocked the efforts.
According to RCSS spokesperson Lt-Col Oum Khur, the checkpoints set up this month are throughout Shan State, and involve temperature checks on travelers, and documenting their travel history.
“Because of the second wave of COVID-19, we have established medical checkpoints. We have done this before,” the spokesperson said. “I think people will have some difficulties because of COVID-19. We won’t make people suffer. The reason is to control the spread of COVID-19.”
Representatives of the Ta’ang National Party (TNP) said that the Shan army’s checkpoints have slowed travel, particularly in Murng Kung Township, where they have been established in at least four village tracts.
“It causes problems for local people who live in the mountainous region of Murng Kung Township,” TNP chair Mai Nom Harn said. “Some people tried to go to buy foods and other products in the market downtown, but they did not allow it… Some people have not been able to go to attend the funeral services of their relatives.”
Mai Nom Harn said that this round of RCSS checkpoints has been stricter than the first time.
“We want to ask them to reduce the restrictions a little bit,” the TNP chair said.
The RCSS medical teams have urged villagers to quarantine themselves before visiting other communities and have imposed rules around travel.
“If villagers want to go to another village, they need to take a recommendation letter from their village headman,” Sai Tun, who lives in Murng Kung town, told SHAN, adding that the letter requirement is part of the RCSS’s COVID-19 awareness campaign, which also includes mask wearing, and informing village headmen if they need to go to the clinic or hospital.
He added that while people are allowed to visit markets, they are restricted by medical teams from traveling outside of their township.
There have been nine recently confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shan State. Two cases are being treated in Taunggyi, two in Kalaw’s military hospital, one in Namsang and four in Kengtung.
As of Thursday, Burma’s Ministry of Health and Sports reported 3,894 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 46 deaths and 908 recoveries.