Rebel group receives vaccine doses from China


CHINA has supplied over 10,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to a Myanmar rebel group operating near its southern border, its spokesman said, as Beijing seeks to halt the influx of cases from the coup-wracked country.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military took power in February, with a resurgent virus wave striking with many hospitals empty of pro-democracy medical staff.

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which has waged a decades-long insurgency in Myanmar’s far north, had received 10,000 vaccine doses from Yunnan authorities, Col Naw Bu, a spokesperson for KIA, said on Saturday.

“KIA asked for help from China, and China gave us help for vaccines,” he said, without specifying which vaccine brand the group had been given or when the first batch had arrived.

Some of the shots had been paid for and others were donated, he added, without providing a breakdown.

A surging caseload in Myanmar has spooked authorities across its porous border with China.

Earlier this month, Beijing reported 57 new infections nationwide – the highest daily tally since late January – including 15 in the city of Ruili, next to Myanmar.

Twelve of those were Myanmar nationals, according to health authorities in Yunnan province.

A batch of 736,000 donated Sinopharm doses also arrived in Yangon on Thursday, with Myanmar officials saying residents along the border with China would be given priority. — AFP

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