Provinces on border face surge

Provinces on border face surge

Authorities fear Myanmar influx

Provinces on the western border have stepped up measures to combat the surge in Covid-19 infection with Kanchanaburi imposing a province-wide night-time curfew while the army focuses on deterring illegal border crossers to keep out infections.

Kanchanaburi's Covid-19 situation administration centre has released an order closing places at risk of infection in tambon Jorakae Phuek of Dan Makhamtia district, tambon Ban Kao of Muang district, Sangkhla Buri district, Thong Pha Phum district and Sai Yok district.

An 11pm-4am curfew has also been declared in the tambons and districts covered by the order.

No one is allowed to enter or leave the areas except authorised personnel.

The order, signed by provincial governor Jirakiat Phumsawat who chairs Kanchanaburi's Covid-19 centre, takes effect from tomorrow until further notice.

The order says the measures must be implemented as a matter of urgency as the Covid-19 pandemic in Myanmar with which Kanchanaburi shares a border continues unabated. It notes many have tried to escape via neighbouring countries, particularly Thailand.

Stemming the transmission is in the best interest of not only Kanchanaburi itself but also Bangkok and surrounding provinces already hit hard by infections.

In Tak, another province bordering Myanmar, provincial governor Pongrat Phiromrat has authorised mass testing of residents in at-risk communities in Mae Sot, a key trans-border trading district.

The tests were being launched amid a rapid increase in infections among Thais and Myanmar migrant workers. On Friday alone, 176 new infections were reported, which brings to 3,281 the total caseload in Mae Sot since April 1, the onset of the current third outbreak.

The Defence Ministry says 44,168 foreign nationals were caught slipping into the country via border areas last month.

Of them, 33,576 people were arrested on the border and 10,592 in the interior provinces, according to Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich.

Also, 4,300 people, mostly Thais, were caught bringing illegal migrants into the country.

Security agencies are working out plans to reinforce border defence and prepare for emergency situations along the border should the situation in Myanmar worsen.

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