Ruili bordering Myanmar vows to guard gate as Delta variant is found
Published: Jul 07, 2021 11:15 AM
Ruili port in Southwest China's Yunnan Province links the country with Myanmar. Photo: VCG

Ruili port in Southwest China's Yunnan Province links the country with Myanmar. Photo: VCG

Officials from China-Myanmar border city Ruili vowed to ramp up their efforts to guard the gates against COVID-19 by stepping up border control and cracking down on illegal stowaways, after the Delta variant was detected in the city, making it the second to be hit by the mutated strain after South China's Guangzhou. 

Seven positive samples of COVID-19 cases have been sequenced so far and the results show that the genome sequence is highly homologous to the Delta strain, which has been found in neighboring countries, an official from the Ruili government told a press conference on Wednesday. Yunnan Province reported 15 confirmed cases on Wednesday.  

Ruili continued to strengthen border control measures. The act of illegally crossing the national border will be severely punished, and the stowaways and those who organize, assist or shelter them will face severe punishment as well, Zhai Yulong, secretary of the Ruili Committee of the Communist Party of China, said at the conference.

Ruili will accelerate the establishment of a multi-dimensional border prevention and control system and comprehensively modernize governance in border areas by controlling factors related to people, villages, passages, certificates, and border lines, Zhai noted. 

Border lines control has long been the top priority task for Ruili. Cross-border activities between the people of the two countries have long been suspended, and goods in and out of China are subject to strict disinfection and nucleic acid testing. All officials in public posts in Ruili have been assigned their own responsibility areas for border guarding and regular border patrol, an official from Ruili who preferred not to be named told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the global times on Wednesday that the previous outbreak in Guangzhou, which was also hit by Delta, together with the epidemic resurgence in Ruili, is a reminder to other border cities that border control is the key for guarding against imported cases.

On Wednesday, Ruan Chengfa, the Yunnan provincial Party secretary, instructed local officials to firmly guard the country's gates with "death-defying determination," given the extremely grave and complex pandemic situation outside China.

This is the fourth time the city has been hit by the COVID-19 epidemic, and its third time imposing lockdown. During the last round of the epidemic, some city officials were sacked due to negligence. One of those who were sacked was Gong Yunzun, former party chief of Ruili. 

Since Wednesday, the main urban area of Ruili is closed off and all residents are told to stay at home, and food will be delivered to their doorsteps, according to a notice released by Ruili epidemic prevention and control leading group on Tuesday.

Schools and vocational institutes are shut. Supermarkets, hospitals and pharmacies and other business venues are also suspended from operating, the notice reads. It is unknown when the lockdown will be lifted.