Returnees prepare for quarantine

Returnees prepare for quarantine

Group repatriated from Indonesia

Returnees from Indonesia arrive at Hat Yai airport of Songkhla province on Monday. (Photo by Assawin Pakkawan)
Returnees from Indonesia arrive at Hat Yai airport of Songkhla province on Monday. (Photo by Assawin Pakkawan)

SONGKHLA: Seventy-six passengers who arrived on Monday from Indonesia, where they attended a religious event, are expected to be sent to state quarantine facilities in their home provinces on Tuesday.

The returnees arrived on a Lion Air flight, which landed at Hat Yai airport at 4pm on Monday. After landing, the plane was towed to a special bay and the passengers underwent immigration checks and health screening procedures supervised by Songkhla's 12th Disease Control Office.

Authorities said out of the 100 Thai citizens who were supposed to return on the flight, 24 failed Covid-19 screening at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and were prevented from boarding.

The Communicable Disease Control Department assigned its officials to work with provincial health authorities and local authorities to ensure that the passengers comply with control measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

A facility at Ban Phru was prepared to accommodate the returnees as they wait to be transported to their home provinces for a 14-day quarantine at state-designated facilities. However, those with a fever or symptoms associated with Covid-19 would be sent to hospital for testing and medical care instead.

Most of the returnees hail from Songkhla, Satun, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

Songkhla authorities chose Phru Khang Khao gymnasium as their designated quarantine venue. The facility will be off-limits to anyone without authorisation.

In Satun, a dorm in Langu district was prepared to accommodate returnees. The facility, located far away from residential areas, was handed over to the province for use as a field hospital to care for Covid-19 patients.

Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), on Monday asked Thais abroad seeking to return to update the nearest Thai embassies and/or consular offices of their plans, so that quarantine arrangements can be made.

He insisted the 14-day state quarantine is mandatory for all returnees, including those holding "fit-to-fly" certificates. He said the number of imported cases is on the rise and stringent measures must be enforced to prevent wider transmission.

According to Dr Taweesin, there are 249 new cases involving overseas travellers -- 85 recently returned from Europe, 49 from Malaysia, 44 from Indonesia, 26 from Cambodia, 14 from Pakistan, 10 from Japan, nine from the US and 12 from other countries.

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