By Nyein Nyein
The Indian government has shut down all entry points, including air, sea, and border checkpoints, with Myanmar for a month to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, according to the Bodh Gaya Pilgrimages Working Committee (BPWC).
Currently, Bodh Gaya pilgrims entering Nepal through the Sunauli border crossing between India and Nepal are not being allowed to enter the country. Also, pilgrims who are already in Nepal have been asked to return to India by 12 March.
“The BPWC will coordinate with the Bodh Gaya aircraft agencies in Myanmar to bring back Myanmar citizens making a pilgrimage to India. The BPWC will announce its plan to bring them back,” said U Maung Maung Myint, chairman of the BPWC.
“More than 1,000 pilgrims are currently on a visit to India. So, we’ve asked the consulate and the embassy of India in Myanmar for information, and they said that there is no information on Wuhan virus in Myanmar. So, we have two scheduled flights with Air India and Indigo. These flights are from India and they will operate regularly because no COVID-19 case has been reported in Myanmar. So, they have promised that they won’t suspend flights from these airlines. We have invited these two airlines and we will coordinate with them. There are also two flight operators in Myanmar — Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) and Myanmar Airways International (MAI). Also, there are three companies hiring out aircrafts. These companies are involved in our committee. We are also holding discussions with them. There is only one way to pick up pilgrims from Myanmar. We will have to send empty flights to India to bring back thousands of passengers from Myanmar. We can bring back Myanmar citizens within a week or ten days,” said U Maung Maung Myint.
Therefore, Myanmar pilgrims in India have been asked to contact airline agencies and the BPWC and provide information on their group’s name, passenger list, and departure flight dates along with the name of the airlines, according to the BPWC.
The Indian government announced on 11 March that all India visa holders from around the country would not be allowed to enter India for a month — from 13 March to 15 April — in order to check the spread of COVID-19. (Translated by Hay Mar)