"China only allowed us to export food and drink at the moment," U Min Thein told AFP Sunday.

But he said they were not permitted to send over economic mainstays -- including rice, broken rice, beans and watermelons.

For those, traders had to use the Kyinsankyawt border gate outside Muse, he said.

The Kyinsankyawt checkpoint partially reopened under similar circumstances in May last year, according to state media.

On Saturday, U Min Thein said, China exported construction and industrial equipment, electrical appliances, medical devices, consumer and household goods, as well as food products.

"But China had not yet allowed people to cross the border," he said.

The Muse checkpoint's reopening has been persistently stalled by both sides, and the Chinese city of Ruili has faced multiple lockdowns to limit the spread of Covid.

China recently declared an end to its zero-Covid policy, and has since recorded a massive spike in infections.