|Sars big deal in northern
Burma has posted public health and red cross officials along the
border with China but the performance of their duties has left a
lot to be desired, said a Shan businessman from northern Shan State.
"There are many border crossings but Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome) inspectors are placed only at Zegao and Muse (pronounced
Muzay)" said the source. "They look casually at travelers
passing through the checkpoints from head to toes and just let them
move on. If they can't do a job properly, why are they doing it
The businessman explained he was in Muse to gamble at one of the
casinos there but found each one of them closed for almost a week.
"They must have been taking their cue from China that has shut
down the entertainment venues on the Chinese side of the border,"
he speculated. "Not that the Chinese are also paying too much
attention to Sars in Yunnan except at Kunming (the capital of the
province where an international airport is located)."
He also found only a few townspeople wearing anti-Sars masks in
Muse, each costing 800 - 1,500 kyat. "But most people don't
appear to know anything about the epidemic," he said. "They
would laugh and ask 'why are you donning it? Is it a new fashion?'"
His experience in Muse proved the shallowness of Rangoon's public
information "machine", he concluded.
Sars, first dubbed as killer pneumonia, and believed to have originated
in China's Guangzhou Province have claimed hundreds of deaths and
is damaging the economy of the Asian countries more than the Gulf
War and terrorist attacks combined, according to Asian leaders at
the Sars summit in Bangkok late last month.