Prayut seeks tighter migrant clampdown
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday ordered officials in Samut Sakhon, the epicentre of the new wave of Covid-19 cases in the country, to check for employers who might be secretly hiring illegal migrant workers after infections among that group failed to decline as expected.
The PM on Monday held a video conference at Government House with Samut Sakhon's deputy governor Surasak Pholyangsong and other authorities to acknowledge the province's progress in implementing key virus-fighting measures. These included active case detection, screenings, closures of at-risk establishments and hospitals' readiness to treat Thai and foreign patients.
Gen Prayut urged Mr Surasak to step up the province's travel restrictions and measures to prevent a further influx of illegal migrants.
Turning to the condition of infected Samut Sakhon governor Veerasak Vijitsaengsri, the PM said he remained in hospital and he had given him moral support.
Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul reiterated that restrictions in the 28 "maximum and strict" Covid-19 control areas would be eased once the situation improved but this depended on how things developed in each area.
On Mr Surasak's announcement that the Central Shrimp Market would reopen on Jan 27, Mr Anutin said the province must first ensure the facility is completely virus-free.
Other provinces would also adopt the same gradual reopening as Samut Sakhon, he said.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Monday expressed concerns over the situation in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, where infections continue to rise.
The CCSA urged communities to help monitor illegal border crossings and stressed that illegal migrant workers must all have Covid tests and reveal their travel history.
Meanwhile, Khathawut Thongthai, president of the Association of Entertainment Professionals, on Monday asked Gen Natthaphol Nakpanich, secretary-general of the National Security Council, for urgent help to be given to entertainment professionals affected by the government's restrictions.
His letter requested debt relief and soft loans for entertainment venues, entrepreneurs and concert organisers.
He also asked for permission to be given for venues to reopen and concerts be staged in those provinces which have gone 28 consecutive days with no new local cases.