China’s Southeast Asian Neighbors Step up Controls Amid Coronavirus Fears

Southeast Asian countries are tightening controls and stepping up screening of travelers this week as China’s neighbors brace for possible cases of novel coronavirus amid a heavy flow of Chinese tourists during Lunar Year holidays.

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have reported relatively few cases of novel coronavirus, officially termed nCoV-2019 (Wuhan) by the World Health Organization, which has infected nearly 4,500 and caused 107 deaths, mostly in China’s Hubei province, according to researchers tracking the epidemic.

But Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam share long and often porous borders with southwestern China and were grappling with large unauthorized border traffic and a growing Chinese economic presence long before the novel coronavirus infections were reported early this year.

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