Covid centre 'working to bring Thais home'

Covid centre 'working to bring Thais home'

Sixty-three Thais prepare to board a flight arranged by the Thai embassy in South Korea   at Inchoen airport on Tuesday. They will return to Thailand on Tuesday night, according to 'The Reporters' news outlet. (Photo from The Reporters Facebook)
Sixty-three Thais prepare to board a flight arranged by the Thai embassy in South Korea at Inchoen airport on Tuesday. They will return to Thailand on Tuesday night, according to 'The Reporters' news outlet. (Photo from The Reporters Facebook)

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) is working with related agencies to bring Thais stranded in airports across the world home as the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has extended a ban on all commercial flights to Thailand until April 18 to support the country's campaign to contain the coronavirus.

According to the CCSA, almost 200 Thais trying to return home are now stuck at airports in several countries — 15 in Japan, 60 in South Korea, 60 in the Netherlands, 60 in the US, and one each in the UK and Qatar.

"We are doing our best to bring Thai people home. All 197 will be taken care of by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MFA]. Other Thais who are stranded abroad can also contact Thai embassies and/or consular offices in their areas for help,” CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin said.

Dr Taweesin said all Thais abroad seeking to return during this period must inform the nearest Thai embassies of their plans, so that quarantine arrangements can be made.

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

Dr Taweesin said there were 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.

Last night, 14 Thais arrived in Phuket from France on a special flight arranged by the French government to pick up its citizens who were stranded on the island. The flight landed at Phuket airport at 8.30pm. Another 60 Thais arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport from the US at 9.45pm.

At 3.30pm today, 22 Thais are set to arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport on a flight from Japan.

The MFA on Tuesday issued a statement saying not more than 200 people will be allowed to enter the country each day. The statement came after an order was issued stating that planes would be prohibited from landing until April 18.

The 200 figure was decided upon after discussions between related agencies so as to systematically manage entry into the country and make appropriate arrangements for people entering, especially the 14-day quarantine in specified areas. Relevant Thai agencies are coordinating with embassies and consulate-generals to provide appropriate information, advice and assistance to Thais abroad.

The ministry said it would like to emphasise that the latest travel  rules are in accordance with the prime minister’s efforts to tackle the spread of Covid-19.


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