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China locks down city bordering Myanmar over coronavirus

Beijing: China announced on Tuesday that it has locked down a city bordering Myanmar while also launching a mass coronavirus testing programme after authorities detected two fresh infections there.

Both the cases were found in the city of Ruili in western Yunnan province, a major land border crossing point with neighbouring Myanmar, Al Jazeera reported.

City officials said in a statement on Tuesday that residents were being told to stay at home and people had been forbidden from entering or leaving the city from Monday evening.

They said every resident will be tested for the virus in Ruili, which is home to more than 2,10,000 people. Businesses have been closed except for supermarkets, pharmacies and food markets.

According to reports authorities in Ruili and a number of other border areas had entered “wartime status” to enhance anti-epidemic measures and border management.

They said that the infections were brought in from Myanmar and Chinese authorities would “crack down on illegal immigrants”. One of them was a 32-year-old woman who was initially asymptomatic, and the other was a 16-year-old girl, according to reports.

Vice mayor of Ruili, Yang Bianqiang said that the city would repatriate those who cannot verify their time of arrival into China, “have no fixed residence and have no fixed place to work”.

Ruili is separated by a shallow river from the border town of Muse, Myanmar’s main gateway to China and known for sleazy streets, weapons, casinos and drugs.

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