Natural border areas under close watch

Natural border areas under close watch

The Public Health Ministry is gearing up efforts to prevent foreign migrants from neighbouring countries entering Thailand through natural border channels after Covid-19 infections in those countries started increasing.

Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said on Sunday that as cases across the border keep increasing -- 2,595 in Myanmar, 1,060 in Vietnam, 274 in Cambodia and 23 in Laos -- Thailand must impose stricter protection especially where illegal migrants looking for work in Thailand are concerned.

Dr Suwannachai said the department is conducting more inspections in border checkpoints and working with police, soldiers and village health volunteers to increase surveillance along natural border areas where illegal migrants enter the country.

He said the department has trained volunteers about screening tests, self-protection, searching infected people, passing on health knowledge and arranging local quarantine places.

Meanwhile, in Ubon Ratchathani, 14 Lao migrants travelling in a van bound for Bangkok were arrested early yesterday in Muang district of this northeastern province.

Pol Capt Pakin Purithadawatana, a Muang traffic police officer, said the van was stopped for a search on a ring road near Big C superstore at about 1am while it was heading out of the town.

Found in the van were 14 Lao migrants, all of them from Champassak province of Laos. The van driver was Patipol Chanthakhet, 54, from Surin's Lamduan district.

The migrants said they they took a boat from Ban Mai Singsamphan of Muang Sanasomboun across the Mekong River to the Thai side of the border at Ban Huay Mak Tai in Ubon Ratchathani's Khong Chiam district.

From there, they were taken on a vehicle to a PTT petrol station in Tan Sum district where Mr Patipol was waiting with the van. The migrants said they paid 4,000 baht each to brokers who arranged the trip.

Mr Patipol said he was to be paid 15,000 baht to take the migrants from the PTT petrol station to Bangkok.

The migrants were charged with illegal entry and had their temperatures taken before being handed over to the immigration police for further action.

Meanwhile, the country has added seven more coronavirus infections, raising the total tally to 3,473. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration(CCSA) on Sunday announced seven new cases imported from Bahrain, India and Australia. Fatalities remain unchanged at 58.

Vitit Saritdeechaikul, the provincial health office director in Buri Ram, said 42 players and staff members of Buriram United are being quarantined after their return from the club's training ground in Samut Prakan on Saturday.

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