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China blocks city on Myanmar border due to coronavirus

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China has closed a city on the border with Myanmar and will launch a massive coronavirus testing program, officials said on Tuesday after a small number of infections were detected there.

All three cases were found in the town of Ruili in the western Yunnan province, a major land border crossing point with neighboring Myanmar.

City officials said in a statement Tuesday that residents had been told to stay home and people had been barred from entering or leaving the city Monday through Monday evening.

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They said every resident would be tested for the virus in Ruili, which is home to more than 210,000 people.

Businesses are closed in addition to supermarkets, pharmacies and food markets.

The infections were brought from Myanmar and Chinese authorities will “hit the illegal immigrants”, officials said.

Ruili is separated by a shallow river from the border town of Muse, Myanmar’s main gateway to China, known for its weak roads, guns, casinos and drugs.

Yang Bianqiang, deputy mayor of Ruili, told a news conference Monday that the city would repatriate those who could not verify the time of arrival in China, “have no fixed residence and no fixed place to work.”

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China has largely controlled the spread of the virus through a series of travel restrictions and strict blockades, starting with the central city of Wuhan when the virus first appeared late last year.

However, there have been a number of localized blasts in recent months, including in the capital Beijing.

The country’s borders remain closed to most foreigners and most of the infections in recent months have been from the return of citizens abroad.

Seven more cases were reported around China on Tuesday – all brought from other countries, the National Health Commission said.

Myanmar is an essential part of the China Road and Road Initiative – Chinese President Xi Jinping’s $ 1 trillion vision for maritime, rail and road projects across Asia, Africa and Europe – including a $ 8.9 billion high-speed rail link from Yunnan on the west coast of Myanmar.

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