KIA bans entry to its territory after two Covid-19 cases discovered 

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has banned entry into the border towns of Laiza and Mai Ja Yang after two people arriving in its territory tested positive for Covid-19, an official working on control and prevention of the virus has said. 

“The guests came from afar and we only found out about the infections when we tested them,” said Colonel Hing Wawm, secretary of the Covid-19 control committee working under the KIA’s political wing. The cases were uncovered on Wednesday. 

The committee has been preparing to enforce stricter measures in KIA territory since more contagious variants, including the Delta variant, were found in Myanmar last month, he added.  

The KIA’s political wing said on Thursday that it would enforce strict security to prevent illegal entry to its territory and that materials imported from China or the rest of Myanmar would be allowed to enter only after disinfection.

Schools and churches are closed in Mai Ja Yang, The Irrawaddy reported.  

There have been 20 confirmed Covid-19 cases in KIA territory within the past four months. Over 20,000 people have been vaccinated in Laiza and Mai Ja Yang after neighbouring China supplied the KIA with free vaccines. 

Fighting between the KIA and the Tatmadaw escalated drastically after the military seized power earlier this year. 

The KIA seized numerous outposts from the military, including the strategically important Alaw Bum hill base, which sits just 30km south of Laiza, where the KIA has its headquarters. The Tatmadaw suffered heavy losses in a failed bid to reclaim the base. 

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