The Myanmar Consulate General in Chiang Mai has urged Myanmar citizens to follow Thailand’s new requirement that foreigners present a medical certificate showing they are free of COVID-19 as well as proof of health insurance upon arriving in the country.
Thailand has recorded one death from COVID-19 since the outbreak started in China’s Wuhan City in December. The Thai government announced that it has found 50 more cases on Friday, bringing its tally to 322. Of these, 43 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals and 278 are still being treated.
As Thailand saw a large jump this week in its number of recorded infections, the Thai government closed down schools, universities and entertainment venues around the country for two weeks, starting Wednesday, March 18.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced on Thursday that starting on Sunday, March 22, any foreigners entering the Kingdom must show a medical certificate ensuring the person is free of COVID-19 as well as health insurance showing at least US$100,000 of coverage for COVID-19 treatment.
The medical certificate must be issued no more than 72 hours before the date of arrival in Thailand and confirm that the traveler has tested negative for coronavirus. The Thai government has ordered airline operators to only allow passengers to check in if they have the two required documents.
The CAAT also ordered all airlines operating flights into Thailand to take protective measures on board, including wearing masks at all times, seating passengers as far away from one another as possible and following disinfection procedures on arrival.
The measures announced Thursday replaced Thailand’s previous requirements that applied to travelers from China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Italy and Iran—which are classified as “disease infected zones.”
Thailand’s new requirement that travelers have at least $100,000 in medical insurance is likely to impact Myanmar nationals as the Kingdom’s good healthcare services are popular among Myanmar people. Patients seeking treatment in Thailand previously did not need to carry medical insurance.
“The current medical insurance must cover COVID-19 treatment and the minimum coverage is US$100,000. But medical insurance packages are not so well-known among Myanmar people. Now they won’t be allowed to come to Thailand without this medical insurance. Therefore, we have tried to relay the message as much as we can,” U Zaw Myo Htet, consul and first secretary for the Myanmar Consulate General Office in Chiang Mai told The Irrawaddy.
As of Friday, the global total for COVID-19 cases topped 236,000 with over 9,800 deaths in 175 countries, including 80,928 cases and 7,263 deaths in China.
But as of Thursday evening, Myanmar still has no COVID-19 cases, according to the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports. Myanmar has had 173 suspected patients, 157 of whom have already tested negative for the virus and 18 of whom are still awaiting results. Of those who tested negative, 106 patients were discharged from the hospital, 57 are still receiving treatment and eight died of preexisting illnesses.
On Thursday, Myanmar banned foreign tourists from entering Myanmar at land border checkpoints, including from Thailand. Local residents are still allowed through under protective measures, including body temperature screening.
Nine illegal border crossing gates controlled by the Myanmar military-backed Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) in Karen State, near the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border checkpoint, were also closed on Thursday, according to BGF leader Colonel Saw Chit Thu
On Friday, the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border checkpoint was quieter than it was over the past week as Myanmar migrant workers had rushed to return home, according to migrant labor rights group Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association.
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