Yangon – Myanmar’s government has urged all migrant workers who are hoping to return home overland to wait for two weeks or face quarantine upon arrival.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said quarantine centers were being prepared to hold returnees for 14 days.
No more returnees will be allowed to head straight to their homes after a 44-year-old returning from Thailand through the Mae Sot-Myawaddy border on March 23 tested positive with coronavirus on March 29 in Yangon.
On Monday, the Health Ministry warned that migrant workers could spark a COVID-19 outbreak across the country.
Migrants are urged to return after April 15 when quarantine centers can be provided, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On Tuesday, by the afternoon, the Myawaddy border had received around 500 returnees who would be quarantined at makeshift centers, said U Tayzar Aung, the Myawaddy district administrator.
From March 21 to March 30, around 40,000 migrants in Thailand returned home through Myawaddy in Karen State and Shan State’s Tachileik border.
Around 35,000 of the returnees came through Myawaddy, according to Karen State parliamentarian U Thant Zin Aung.
Those with no illnesses or high temperatures were allowed to go home.
Thailand-based labor attaché U Wai Linn Maung told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that the numbers returning were falling to approximately 1,000 per day.
U Tayzar Aung said makeshift quarantine centers could currently hold about 2,500 returnees.
He added that labor camps, labor centers, factories and some stadiums would be used as quarantine centers.
Returnees with illnesses, high temperatures and difficulty breathing will be sent to hospitals for isolation.
By March 30, Myanmar had 14 cases of COVID-19.
A 69-year-old COVID-19 patient, who was suffering from nasal cancer, died on Tuesday, becoming the first coronavirus death in Myanmar.
The World Health Organization reported on March 30 that nearly 700,000 people globally were infected with COVID-19 and more than 33,000 had died.