Fourth woman who sneaked back from Myanmar found infected

Fourth woman who sneaked back from Myanmar found infected

'Selfish' illegal border crossers face full legal action

Senior health officials announce the new Covid-19 infection in Chiang Mai, as another woman who crossed the border illegally from Myanmar to Mae Sai district tests positive. (Photo: Disease Control Department's Facebook page)
Senior health officials announce the new Covid-19 infection in Chiang Mai, as another woman who crossed the border illegally from Myanmar to Mae Sai district tests positive. (Photo: Disease Control Department's Facebook page)

Another Thai woman who crossed the border illegally from Myanmar to Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai province has been found to be infected with the coronavirus disease.

She is the fourth woman recently diagnosed with Covid-19 after sneaking back into Thailand through a natural pass after working in Myanmar,  permanent secretary for public health Kiattiphum Wongrajit said on Tuesday.

Sophon Iamsirithavorn, director of the Division of Communicable Diseases, said the woman's  Covid-19 infection was confirmed on Tuesday morning.

Another case, a 29-year-old woman in Chiang Mai province, was announced on Saturday and two others, women aged 26 and 23 from Chiang Rai, were announced on Nov 30.

“The Covid-19 test results of a 25-year-old woman, the latest case, were confirmed this morning (Tuesday).

"Her hometown is Phayao province. She had travelled to work in Myanmar’s Tachilek township with two friends," Dr Sophon said.

"On  Nov 24, she and the two friends crossed the border via a natural border pass to Mae Sai district. They wore face masks."

Between Nov 24 and 27, she stayed at a hotel in Mae Sai and did not leave the room. She ordered meals using Grab services, he said. On Nov 28-30, she moved to stay at a hotel in Muang district of Chiang Rai and contacted officials for health tests.

On Nov 30, she was quarantined and underwent a Covid-19 test, which returned positive. She was sent to Chiang Rai Phrachanukhoh Hospial for treatment.

"The two other friends who are at high risk tested negative, but are still being closely monitored. Other people are at low risk,’’ Dr Sophon said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Tuesday said he had ordered the fullest legal action against the Thai women who returned illegally from Tachilek with Covid-19 and dodged quarantine.

"These selfish people caused trouble to so many other Thai people.... They caused national damage and do not deserve sympathy," he said at Government House.

"We were about to reopen the country, but easing measures must be revised now." 

He was referring to six Thai women who sneaked into the northern province of Chiang Rai through a natural passage on Nov 24 and had since travelled around. Four of them have already tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The women's failure to go into quarantine had caused a costly effort by the government to test all people close to them, to contain the disease, Mr Anutin said. He said they had travelled around, visited restaurants and had intimate contact with other people, and concealed their illness.

He ordered local health officials to prepare cases for provincial governors to take legal action against the women. The Public Health Ministry would also take separate legal action. 

"Officials will exercise all sections of relevant laws including those relating to immigration and communicable diseases, and the 14-day quarantine requirement, in taking legal action.

"The operators of their hotels may also face legal action for failing to inform authorities of the arrival of suspicious customers," Mr Anutin said.



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