Govt fears Covid storm from East

Govt fears Covid storm from East

Watch put on migrant influx from Cambodia

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, speaks during a press conference on the local Covid-19 situation, at Government House in Bangkok on Tuesday. (Screenshot)
Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, speaks during a press conference on the local Covid-19 situation, at Government House in Bangkok on Tuesday. (Screenshot)

The government is keeping a close watch on a recent influx of people from Cambodia into the eastern border province of Sa Kaeo amid concern that many of them may be infected with Covid-19.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Tuesday discussed the situation in Sa Kaeo where up to 1,000 people have crossed the border from Cambodia via official checkpoints, CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said.

"At least 10% of them are believed to be infected," the spokesman said.

Those confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus will be sent to hospitals or field hospitals, Dr Taweesilp said, adding that there were enough beds for these patients.

As for those who might have been exposed to Covid-19 but are not yet ill, they will be isolated at local quarantine facilities arranged by the state, though the Sa Kaeo communicable disease committee informed the CCSA that many facilities in the province were already occupied and there may not be enough to accommodate newcomers, Dr Taweesilp said.

Therefore, the committee asked that additional quarantine facilities be set up in nearby provinces and the CCSA agreed to provide support, the spokesman said.

"We want them to enter via permanent border passes to avoid illegal entry. Accommodation must be provided for them. Therefore, additional local quarantine facilities in surrounding areas will be handled through the CCSA," Dr Taweesilp said.

He added that during the past 24 hours, 78 Cambodian nationals, 40 from Myanmar and nine Lao nationals were arrested for illegal entry via natural border crossings.

Covid question time: Vendors and workers at Thessaban, Pharimnam, Tohrung and Siri Watthana markets answer questions from health workers before undergoing a Covid-19 test at the municipal office in Pathum Thani yesterday. The province has seen continued infections in recent weeks. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told a parliamentary meeting on Tuesday that the government this month expected to procure Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturers other than those the government had already bought or planned to buy from.

The government will use the regular and special budgets, as well as loans to buy vaccines, the prime minister said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul also told the meeting that more than 20 billion baht will be allocated to buy a variety of Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturers to ensure effective protection against the virus.

The Department of Disease Control on Tuesday delivered a first batch of 100,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to the Department of Corrections to inoculate prison officials and prisoners in provinces designated as red zones. Priority will be given to elderly inmates and prisoners with underlying health problems.

Permanent secretary for the Justice Ministry Wisit Wisitsora-at said on Tuesday the ministry had submitted a request to the Public Health Ministry for an allocation of vaccines for officials and inmates at 143 correctional facilities throughout the country, to halt the spread of Covid-19 in prisons.

Priority would be given to prisons where no infections have been detected but are in "red" or high-risk areas.

Meanwhile, Thailand recorded 38 Covid-19 fatalities and 2,230 new cases over the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry reported on Tuesday. The number was sharply lower than the 5,485 new cases logged on Monday.

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