Dr. Tanarak Plipat, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control for the Ministry of Health in Thailand, said that the COVID-19 situation in Myanmar directly affects Thailand’s efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic as Thailand tightens Myanmar border control.
Currently in Myanmar, COVID-19 cases and deaths are surging and rising daily. Previously, the country had mostly avoided the worst of COVID-19 compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors where the coronavirus was running wild during this pandemic.
Although the mortality rate is fairly low – being at around 1 per 100,000 people – the virus is at present spiraling. A month ago, 7 people had died from COVID-19; today the number of deaths has risen to 530. As of last Wednesday, 1,400 new cases were reported for that day bringing the total to 22,000.
To date, Thailand has recorded 3,634 positive COVID-19 cases with 59 fatalities.
Thai 4th Army chief of staff Major General Pramote Phrom-in said security authorities have tightened enforcement along its land and sea borders to prevent foreigners from Malaysia sneaking into the kingdom.
“The intensified patrolling by Thai and Malaysian security authorities has resulted in a significant drop in the number of illegal crossings along the Thailand-Malaysia border. Since the new wave of COVID-19 outbreak (in Malaysia), only a few cases of illegal entry have been reported,” the Major General told Malaysian National News Agency Bernama.
Dr. Plipat said that if illegal migrants were allowed in, Thailand might see its coronavirus cases rise to 6,000 cases in total.
According to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), Myanmar’s death toll is the third highest in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and the Philippines.
The CCSA outlined 5 groups of foreign visitors who will be allowed to enter the country:
• Foreign athletes for specified international events
• Non-Immigrant Visa holders
• Long-stay tourists on the Special Tourist Visa (STV)
• APEC Card holders
• People who wish to have short- and long-term stay in Thailand
The CCSA also set quarantine guidelines for THAI Airways pilots and crews working on repatriation flights.
Foreigners seeking short- and long-term stay in Thailand must prove that they possess at least 500,000 Baht in their bank accounts for the past 6 consecutive months.