Covid surge sees Sadao border checkpoint shut
SONGKHLA: The Sadao border checkpoint in the southern province of Songkhla was closed yesterday and will remain so until Sept 25.
Earlier, a Malaysian checkpoint across the border, the Bukit Kayu Hitam checkpoint in Malaysia, was closed after a Covid-19 spike.
This follows a spike in coronavirus infections in Kedah state, which recorded 16 new cases on Wednesday alone. One cluster originated with a 39-year-old healthcare worker at a private medical centre, according to local media.
Malaysia on Friday reported 182 new coronavirus cases, raising the total to 9,810. Of the total, 9,181 people had recovered and 105 remained in hospitals. There have been 128 deaths.
Pol Col Mana Nakkang, deputy commander of Immigration Division 6, said Thais, if travelling from Malaysia, can switch their route to return home through the Betong checkpoint in Yala, which is not far from the Sadao checkpoint.
The Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur also suggested Thais who had registered earlier to enter the country via Sadao between now and Sept 25 should re-register and choose other checkpoints to return to Thailand through, such as Betong, Sungai Kolok or Wang Prachan.
They can register online for a certifying letter from the embassy and obtain a fit-to-travel medical certificate issued within 72 hours of their planned departure before they leave, wrote the embassy.
The last Thai returnees allowed to cross over by Malaysia yesterday were two men and three women who had recently been released from jail in the neighbouring country. Malaysian immigration officials handed the five over to officials at the Sadao checkpoint.
As of yesterday, and until Sept 25, only the transport of goods will be allowed through Malaysia's Bukit Kayu Hitam border checkpoint.
In related news, Pol Col Pakkapong Sai-ubon, deputy commander of Immigration Division 1, yesterday led officers to establish mobile service stations at Bangkok Patana School in Bang Na district, as well as in Bumrungrad hospital, to help with renewing temporary visas and releasing re-entry visas for students, teachers, workers and their families. The idea is to help reduce overcrowding in immigration offices.
Pol Col Pakkapong said the service followed strict health measures and was ordered by the Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, Sompong Chingduang, to assist foreigners affected by the pandemic.