The Rih border crossing in Chin State is still open but authorities aren’t taking any chances and started checking all travellers coming from India’s Mizoram State for symptoms of COVID-19, recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Rih to Zohkawdar bridge is the last border crossing open on the Chin-Mizo border. District judge Mr S. L. Naveen closed all the other checkpoints in Champhai district in Mizoram on Tuesday to curb the spread of the virus that has infected over 100,000 in over 100 countries, according to WHO.
So far, Burma hasn’t confirmed a single case but several patients with similar symptoms to the coronavirus have died.
Maung Maung, a Chin border immigration officer in Rih, told Khonumthung News, officers in Zohkawdar have also implemented measures to identify travellers who may be infected by the virus to prevent it from spreading.
“Mizoram authorities are checking everyone for COVID-19 on the Indian side. Travellers can’t cross the bridge until they pass a medical check. We’re also doing medical checks on our side,” Maung Maung said.
Only ‘special permit’ holders are permitted to cross to India. Travellers must provide their name, address and phone number at the Zohkawdar police checkpoint in Mizoram.
Most Chin traders use the Rih to Zohkawhtar checkpoint to export local and Thai products to nearby Manipur State in India.
Currency exchange businesses, normally operating along the border, have shut down after import and export trade between Chin State and Mizoram was affected by the falling Indian rupee. Traders speculate the rupee’s devaluation could be caused by the spread of COVID-19.