Thailand gets tough at the border as imported Covid-19 cases keep rising

All images courtesy of The Nation Thailand/Asian News Network

BANGKOK, Dec 13 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): An Ubon Ratchathani man has been arrested for allegedly transporting 12 illegal migrants from Laos in a pickup truck late on Friday (Dec 11).

The undocumented migrants comprised five males and seven females.At 10pm on Friday, officers of Navy's Mekong Patrol Operation Command arrested Pranee (last name withheld), a local of Ubon Ratchathani’s Sri Muang Mai district, near a border checkpoint in Na Pho Klang subdistrict, in Khong Chiam district, which shares a border with Laos.

One of the migrants reportedly said that they had travelled from several cities in Laos’ Champasak province, and had paid an agency in Thailand Bt4,000 to Bt5,000 per person to transport them to Bangkok to find jobs.

The suspect and the migrants were taken to Khong Chiam Police Station for questioning.

On Saturday (Dec 12), six more Laotians were detained in Ubon Ratchathani province when they were waiting for a Thai man to take them to Bangkok.

At 5pm, police managed to detain three male and three female Laotions in Na Tan district. They said that they were a family looking for jobs in Thailand.

A Thai man who was responsible for taking them to the capital charged each of them Bt2,500 and told them to wait in a house.

They were taken to be screened for Covid-19 while the person who made the deal for their travel was summoned to the police station for investigation.

Thailand have also increased defences along the border due to the rise in imported cases in the country especially along the border.

On Sunday (Dec 13), the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) reported 17 new cases in state quarantine facilities and a border area checkpoint over a 24-hour period.

All the cases were Thais and foreigners coming from foreign countries.

They included a Thai woman, 69, and an Indian woman, 72, coming from the United States via Taiwan; a Thai woman, 54, and a Swiss man, 57, from Switzerland; a Pakistani man, 45, and a British man, 71, from their home countries; a Thai man, 22, from Japan; a Thai businesswoman, 20, from Bahrain (a re-active case ater testing positive on November 21); four Thai women aged 19-30 working at an entertainment venue and returning from Myanmar who tested positive at a local quarantine facility.

Meanwhile, five women, 22-35, who worked at an entertainment venue meet PUI criteria for Covid-19 when they were passing through a border checkpoint and were taken to a hospital where they were later found positive.

However, the CCSA also reported that eight patients have recovered and been discharged.

The total number of confirmed cases in Thailand increased to 4,209 (1,216 in state quarantine), 226 are in hospital, 3,923 have recovered and been discharged and 60 people have died.

According to Worldometer, as of 10am on Sunday, the total number of confirmed cases had reached 72.1 million (up by 635,548), 50.49 million have recovered, 20 million are active cases (106,813 in severe condition) and 1.61 million have died (up by 10,327).

Thailand ranks 151st for most cases in the world, while the US has the most number with 16.53 million, followed by India 9.86 million, Brazil 6.88 million, Russia 2.62 million and France 2.36 million.

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, urged all Thai people who are actively aware of the virus to continue wearing masks and inform officers about illegal entry of people and suspected infections.

Many cases were caught quickly, which prevented them from spreading.

He debunked rumours of infected people entering the Big Mountain 2020 Music Festival in Chiang Mai, as a woman, 43, who has myasthenia gravis, and seven of her contacts had tested negative.

He said the music event was too crowded while the organisers ignored public health officers' recommendation, leading to the cancellation of the event by using the power of the provincial health office and governor.

“We didn’t want to cancel the event. However, high risk was seen from people staying in a close group and some didn’t wear a mask,” said Dr Opas. - The Nation Thailand/Asian News Network

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