Stranded Thais to be repatriated
About 580 from more than 2,700 Thais who live in the United States and want to return home will be repatriated between May 10 and May 19, Foreign Ministry spokesman Cherdkiat Atthakor said on Thursday.
Despite the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand's (CAAT) announcement temporarily banning all inbound passenger flights until May 31, repatriation flights are still being allowed, Mr Cherdkiat said.
Over 2,7000 Thais have registered for repatriation at the Thai embassy in Washington DC, the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Los Angeles and the Royal Thai Consulate-General in New York City.
Priority will be given to people who already hold a repatriation certificate issued by these three offices between March and April 2, he said, adding that children and people aged under 18 will be given priority as well.
The final list of people allowed to travel back home on these flights is expected to be finalised within days.
The maximum repatriation quota for Thai nationals stranded in other countries is limited to 200 per day amid the pandemic, Mr Cherdkiat said. Passengers are typically sent into quarantine after they arrive.
Amid the ban on incoming passenger flights, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is making efforts to ensure Thais can return when possible, including allowing passenger flights from foreign countries or chartered flights managed by the ministry to land. However, passengers must follow strict Covid-19 prevention measures and pay for the airfare themselves.
In response to media reports of more than 100 Thai students stranded in Jakarta asking for repatriation services, Mr Cherdkiat said the Thai embassy in Jakarta was now taking care of 1,725 Thai students in 38 cities in Indonesia.
On April 9, the embassy had approved repatriation flights from Indonesia for May 17, 23, and 27.