PHITSANULOK: Thais working in Myanmar who wish to return home should do so only through two permanent border checkpoints, in Tak's Mae Sot district and Chiang Rai's Mae Sai, and go immediately into state quarantine to stem the spread of Covid-19, 3rd Army commander Lt Gen Apichet Suesat said on Monday.
They should not return home through natural border passes, he said.
Lt Gen Apichet was responding to reports of Thais using unofficial crossings and re-entering the country without reporting to authorities or going into quarantine, sparking fears they could be infected in Myanmar and spread the virus in Thailand.
A woman infected with Covid-19 in Myanmar is feared to be a superspreader in Chiang Mai, and there are two new coronavirus cases in Chiang Rai, both women who crossed the border illegally and had worked at the same entertainment venue in Myanmar.
Lt Gen Apichet said the 3rd Army was concerned about the number of illegal border crossers in Tak, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces.
"I understand that Thais working in Myanmar are afraid they could be infected, causing some of them to have sneaked across the border.
"Please bear in mind that as Thai nationals you can return home via permanent checkpoints and go into state quarantine, either in Mae Sot or Mae Sai. You should not enter the country via illegal channels because we will then not be able to contain the spread of the virus," Lt Gen Apichet said.
The 3rd Army chief said he had ordered the Pha Muang Force to step up patrols along the border to prevent illegal crossings.