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covid-scare - Rayong businesses hit hard by Egyptian Covid scare

Started by thaiga, July 15, 2020, 11:19:36 AM

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Thai troops on full alert at the borders to stop illegal entry to the country
Thai military strength has been increased and put on full alert along the country's borders, to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19, especially from Myanmar.

Army Commander-in-Chief General Narongphan Chitkaewtae said today that the risk posed the pandemic in neighbouring countries prompted him to call a meeting with unit commanders, sooner than usual, to address the emergency situation.

He said that the pandemic in neighbouring countries remains unpredictable and there is a likelihood that the disease may spread to Thailand, noting that, since Thailand has not imposed a lockdown during the New Year festive season, people from neighboring countries may sneak across the borders to take part.

Illegal crossings, into Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, by a small group of Thais working in Myanmar's Thachilek Township over a week ago triggered a health alert when several of them were found to be infected with COVID-19. Some of them had travelled to other parts of the Kingdom.  Many of those who later returned from Thachilek, through legal border checkpoints, were also found to be infected.

Aided by human trafficking gangs, several Myanmar people have snuck across the border into Thailand, to seek jobs or to escape COVID-19 pandemic back home.  Laotian people working in Malaysia have also been caught illegally crossing into southern Thailand. Illegal border crossings by Cambodians to seek employment in Thailand have also been reported.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


'We cannot stop them all'
Army's major admission over border breaches

The army admitted on Monday that it was impossible to completely seal Thailand's borders from illegal migrants, even as the Public Health Ministry confirmed the latest infection cluster at a shrimp market in Samut Sakhon was linked to migrant labourers.

"Illegal migrant labourers are still crossing the border using natural channels, even though we have deployed a legion of soldiers to guard the demarcation. Our border is 5,526 kilometres long," said deputy army chief-of-staff and army spokesman Lt Gen Santipong Thammapiya.

He admitted illegal migrants were still sneaking into Thailand from Myanmar, especially at highly porous locations in Tak, Chiang Rai and Kanchanaburi. The army, he said, would add even more resources, including drones, mobile patrol units and razor-wire fences to secure high-risk areas.

The army had recently arrested 279 Myanmar nationals at vulnerable border crossings in those three provinces and had already sent them back, said Lt Gen Santipong.

In addition, 200 soldiers were recently sent to Samut Sakhon, the flash-point of the latest Covid-19 infection cluster, to boost the authorities' screening and checkpoint capacity, he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Vichan Pawun, director of the Institute for Urban Disease Control, said that migrant workers in Samut Sakhon could be the cause of the latest infections at the central shrimp market in Muang district.

Dr Vichan said the institute's epidemiological analysis had found that Myanmar migrant workers might indeed be the source of the outbreak that has alarmed the government.

That assumption, Dr Vichan said, was based on the latest Covid-19 tests, which had found 90% of infected people were Myanmar migrant workers living in that area. The institute has started a genetic analysis of Covid-19 viruses in these patients to establish the source and time each patient was infected.

He attributed the cluster infection to the fact that migrant workers lived in crowded rooms with sub-par sanitary standards and rarely wore face masks.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 patients from the Samut Sakhon cluster had reached 821 by last night. The vast majority -- 788 -- were migrant workers and the other 33 were Thais.

The Public Health Ministry tested 4,688 people in the province over the weekend and will complete testing the 5,612 others it deemed to be at risk today.

Dr Vichan said that that the possible infection rate was 42% among those living in the "egg yolk" zone -- the shrimp market and adjacent communities -- but only 6% for those living beyond that zone.

If the infection rate among those living further afield remained at 6% and was seen to be dropping, he forecasts that the Samut Sakhon outbreak would be brought under control within a month.

Dr Vichan also said the Public Health Ministry was administering Covid-19 tests to Myanmar migrant worker across the country.

Meanwhile, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said his staff would today ask the Social Security Board to release funds so both Thai and foreign migrant workers in registered factories and workplaces in Samut Sakhon could be tested too.

The money will go towards paying 50% compensation to people who need to take time off work to be tested.

Mr Suchart says the budget will cover 160,000 tests and will be targeted at both Thai workers in the province and legal migrant workers who hold Social Security Fund cards. He did not say exactly how much money would be requested, but estimated the cost at 3,000 baht per head.

He said his ministry would stop bringing in migrant labour from neighbouring countries but this won't affect companies as there are 2.3 million legal migrant workers.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


32 Lao nationals caught in Tak Bai for illegal entry
Thirty-two Lao nationals were arrested by Thai authorities after they crossed the Sungai Kolok river from Malaysia into Thailand on Tuesday morning.

They arrived by boat on the Thai side of the river at about 4am in tambon Na Nak of Tai Bai district from Kampung Bakong village in Kelantan State. They walked two kilometres to Khae Lae village to seek help from villagers, who informed soldiers of Ranger Company 4514 about their arrival.

The Lao people said they were hired as crew of fishing boats in Johor of Malaysia. Wanting to return to their home country, they took a bus to the Thai border and crossed the Sungai Kolok river in a small boat.

All of them carried a Lao passport, but without an entry visa.

The soldiers took them to Tak Bai police station, where they were charged with illegal entry, for further legal proceedings.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


20 Dec 2020
100,000 migrants waiting to re-enter
Government urged to let them in

About 100,000 migrant workers from Myanmar are waiting to return to Thailand as the government is urged to allow them in but regulate their arrival.

The news came on Saturday during a seminar to mark International Migrants Day, which falls on Dec 18 each year. The event was hosted by Mae Fa Luang University's School of Social Innovation in Chiang Rai. Suebsakun Kidnukorn, an academic with the university's area-based social innovation research centre, said there are about 24,000 registered migrant workers in Chiang Rai, excluding children, the elderly and undocumented workers.

Mr Suebsakun said migrant workers have played an important part in developing Chiang Rai's economy, adding many are now having a hard time crossing the border due to Covid-19 restrictions. As a result, many workers are left stranded along the border, he said, adding the civil sector has stepped in to help stranded Myanmar and Thai migrant workers on both sides.

Adisorn Koetmongkol, coordinator of the Migrant Working Group, said the government has not yet allowed migrant workers who had travelled home to return to Thailand. This prompted many migrant workers, particularly from Myanmar, to try entering the kingdom by sneaking across the border, Mr Adisorn said. The pandemic situation in Myanmar has remained severe, and many workers have not been able to find a job, he said.

Even though the military has stepped up border surveillance to prevent illegal entry via natural passages, the situation is still worrying, Mr Adisorn noted.

Instead of seeing them sneak back across the border, the government should allow them to come but regulate their arrival, adding about 100,000 migrant workers from Myanmar are waiting to return to Thailand. Their flow could be controlled with so many allowed in at a time, and subject to Covid testing and treatment facilities, observers say. Most of them worked here before going back home to escape the pandemic in Thailand, Mr Adisorn said.

Commenting on recent Covid-19 cases in Samut Sakhon, Mr Adisorn said the kingdom's health care system for migrant workers was fairly good, adding it was important to find the source of the infection.

Samut Sakhon, which is famous for its seafood industry, is home to large numbers of migrant workers, and the recent infections will have an impact on seafood businesses there, he said.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Dozens of Myanmar workers deported in crackdown on undocumented migrants
Chiang Rai authorities deported 72 Myanmar workers back to their homeland on Thursday. No reason was given for the move. Authorities said the workers had previously entered Thailand legally and none had worked in the Covid-19 hotspot in Samut Sakhon.

The group was screened for Covid-19 before being expelled via the border checkpoint in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district.

Separately, the Immigration Bureau on Thursday reported results of a roundup of undocumented immigrants in Bangkok and Samut Sakhon province, the epicentre of the latest Covid-19 outbreak.

The bureau said 300 immigration officials working alongside Labour Ministry and Public Health Ministry personnel found 61 unregistered migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province on Tuesday. Fifty-four were from Myanmar, four from Cambodia and the remaining three from Laos. Most of them had crossed the border illegally, said the bureau.

All were tested for Covid-19 but none was found to be infected.

The non-profit Mekong Migration Network has urged Thai authorities not to scapegoat undocumented migrant workers for the latest outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand. Myanmar migrant workers in Samut Sakhon are thought to be the source of the outbreak. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered an investigation of human-trafficking gangs who reportedly bribe Thai immigration and border officials to bring migrant workers into the country.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Myanmar men caught crossing illegally from Malaysia

Eleven Myanmar men who said they had been working on trawlers in Malaysia have been arrested in Sungai Kolok district after illegally crossing the Sungai Kolok River into Thailand.

They could produce no travel documents or passports when asked, officials said.

They were taken for Covid-19 screening. None exhibited a fever.

The arresting team was led by Rungruang Thimabut, chief of Sungai Kolok district.

He said a local resident spotted a group of people crossing the river from Malaysia via a pier.  They were caught and charged with illegal entry.

The 11 men said they had worked on fishing boats in Malaysia.

The spread of Covid-19 in Malaysia had driven job brokers there to smuggle their migrant workers into Thailand, the district chief said.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Migrant Influx Feared
(TNA) – A deputy national police chief has admitted it is likely that about 100,000 migrant workers who had left the country at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic would sneak in as the government is about register illegal migrant workers.

Expressing the concern, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapat, deputy commissioner of the Royal Thai Police Office, said people from neighboring countries would want to sneak in because the government planned to register illegal migrant workers from Jan 25 to Feb 13 in a bid to better control COVID-19.

The plan could attract about 100,000 migrant workers who had left the country during the first spread of COVID-19, he said.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


People-smugglers busted in Chiang Rai
Three Thais accused of bringing 9 Chinese nationals across border
Police have arrested three Thai drivers and nine illegal Chinese migrants travelling in three cars in Thoeng district of this northern province.

Officers from the Crime Suppression and Highway Police divisions stopped the three cars in front of Mae Loi Rai School in tambon Mae Loi on Friday following a tip-off that some foreign nationals were being brought into the country illegally, said Pol Col Pathak Khanna, chief of CSD Sub-division 4.

The officers found nine Chinese men inside the three vehicles driven by three Thai men. The Chinese nationals had no entry documents. 
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thais working in Myawaddy seek to return home
Some 200 Thais working in casinos across the border in Myanmar, along with some who have crossed over illegally for work or to gamble are now asking to return home, 3rd Army commander Lt-General Apichet Suesat said.

Apichet is in charge of the northern region.

He said close to 400 Thais and foreigners working in casinos in Myanmar's Myawaddy district have applied to return to Thailand. So far, only 75 of them have been allowed across officially, of whom 35 tested positive for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, three to five people are arrested daily for crossing the border illegally. So far, 52 of the arrested illegal crossers have tested positive.

"Rumours that the Army is involved in human trafficking is false. In Mae Sai, the military caught illegal border crossers with help from locals. But that is also where rumours began. So, in the case of Thais wanting to cross over from Myawaddy, they will have to contact officials in Tak province themselves," he said.

He added that only 120 beds were available, which is not enough to accommodate everyone wanting to cross over. Hence, he said, local officials need to find an area to build a field hospital first in case the number of infected returnees exceeds the number of beds available.


Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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