PM discourages Thais from jumping land border
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is reassuring Thais who overstayed in Malaysia that the government is looking for ways to bring them home.
He also called on them to refrain from illegally entering Thailand due to Covid-19 concerns.
Rachada Dhnadirek, deputy government spokeswoman, said the PM has instructed government agencies to help the Thais return to the kingdom. No details were available as to the methods to be deployed.
Currently, Thais residing in Malaysia are allowed to return home via land border checkpoints on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she said.
Every returnee is subject to be tested for Covid-19 and be quarantined at a state facility, Ms Rachada said.
Those showing symptoms of the virus will immediately be sent to hospital for treatment and further tests, she said.
Gen Prayut is discouraging Thais in Malaysia from sneaking into Thailand using natural passages, Ms Rachada said.
There are approximately 2,000 beds for Covid-19 patients at hospitals, field hospitals and so-called "hospitels" in Thailand's southern border provinces, according to Ms Rachada.
Thais who overstayed their visas are urged to register for a travel certificate on Thailand's Foreign Affairs Ministry website.
The document is required for the issuance of a special pass for returnees.
They must bring the pass with them to a border checkpoint in Malaysia before returning to Thailand.
The Malaysian Immigration Department recently announced that foreigner overstayers can stay in the country until last Wednesday without punishment.
Malaysian authorities arrested 42 Thais attempting to cross the Kolok River into Thailand on Wednesday evening after checkpoints closed.
The Thais reportedly told police they paid a Malaysian middleman 6,000 baht per person to cross the border.