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Myanmar Crisis

Myanmar's neighbors try to keep out people fleeing junta rule

Thailand fears COVID and financial burden; Bangladesh says it has taken enough

Thai border guards patrol at the Myanmar border at Mae Sot, Thailand, on March 18.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Myanmar's neighbors have been stepping up measures to keep out Burmese fleeing the unrest that has gripped the nation since the military seized power in a coup on Feb. 1.

Countries like Thailand, Bangladesh and Malaysia are facing a dilemma: If they accept the huge numbers of asylum-seekers from Myanmar, their already strained public finances will be further burdened, but if they turn away the displaced people, they will come under international criticism. The coronavirus pandemic further compounds the problem as governments worry that foreigners will carry the disease with them and spread it locally.

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