Thailand on Sunday recorded 17 new cases of the novel coronavirus found in people entering Thailand from other countries, bringing the accumulated total to 4,208. No new deaths were reported.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said nine of the 17 infections were Thais returning from Myanmar to Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai.
All nine were women who had worked at nightspots in Tachilek. They returned to Thailand on Friday and tested positive on arrival.
The CCSA said four of them returned through the checkpoint and another five sneaked back across the border. Those five apparently sought tests on their own initiative.
The country allows Thais in Tachilek to return through the checkpoint at the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, but they first have to contact the Thai-Myanmar Township Border Committee. Thais who crossed over to Myanmar illegally are fined by authorities from the two countries.
All nine new cases were sent to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital in Muang district for treatment. The hospital has been designated as the main state quarantine facility for returnees from the neighbouring country.
The Disease Control Department has said several hundred Thais have been working at entertainment venues in Tachilek, mainly 1G1-7 Hotel. All have now been shut down. Chiang Rai authorities expect more Thais employed in the Myanmar border town to flee the virus outbreak there.
Four other Thai nationals newly diagnosed with Covid-19 flew into the country: a woman from the United States, a woman from Switzerland, a man from Japan and a woman from Bahrain.
The other four cases were foreigners arriving in Thailand by air from overseas destinations: a Swiss man from Switzerland, a Pakistani man from Pakistan, an Indian man from the US and a British man from the United Kingdom.