Migrant workers warned against return to Myanmar
Myanmar wants Thailand to discourage Myanmar migrants from returning home during the Songkran festival, in a bid to prevent the cross-border spread of Covid-19.
Myanmar has asked the Thai government to pass on the message that its citizens working here should not to return home for the traditional New Year holiday next month.
Suchart Pornchaiwisetkul, director-general of the Employment Department, said yesterday that Myanmar's government also asked Thai authorities to inform migrant workers that this year's Songkran celebrations had been suspended.
The Myanmar advisory warned that workers who returned home during Songkran would have to follow disease-control measures when they returned to work in Thailand. These would include quarantine.
"The Employment Department talked with Myanmar representatives ... both sides agreed to announce the cancellation of the [annual] return home and activities during the period," Mr Suchart said.
He also said Thailand would not waive re-entry fees for migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar who return to their homes over Songkran this year.
However, many Myanmar workers are ignoring the plea to steer clear of their homeland. In Tak province, an influx of Myanmar migrants is causing long queues at the border checkpoint in Mae Sot district.
Meanwhile many others are choosing to cross the border by ferry on the Moei River after undergoing strict health checkups.
Myanmar's Public Health Department has arranged areas for the 14-day quarantine of returning citizens and also visitors from at-risk countries.