Myanmar & COVID-19

Thai Health Authorities Keeping a Close Eye on Myanmar

By The Bangkok Post 24 September 2020

The Thai Department of Disease Control (DDC) is keeping a close watch on Myanmar cities that border Thailand after learning the country on Wednesday reported 592 new cases of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 situation in Myanmar is a great concern, so business operators should stop hiring foreign workers, especially Myanmar people, to help prevent a second wave of infections in Thailand, said DDC director-general Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai on Wednesday.

Dr. Suwannachai was speaking at a press conference after learning the number of new COVID-19 infections in Myanmar surged on Wednesday, taking the total to 6,743.

He said the increasing number of patients infected with COVID-19 in Myanmar was in line with a similar trend in India, which has reached nearly 100,000 new cases each day. The countries share a border, which has prompted public health and security officers to monitor the situation closely.

Dr. Suwannachai said COVID-19 infections in Thailand’s neighboring countries are of concern because they are increasing, especially in Malaysia, where the number of patients climbed to 10,358 on Wednesday.

He said the worrying situation had prompted the Myanmar government to lock down Yangon, the former capital.

It also shut down schools and garment plants in the city.

People have been told to work from home. Rigid health measures have been ordered to control the disease.

“Various agencies have been working together to prevent people from sneaking into [Thailand] illegally,” he said.

“The network of public health officers and public health officers for the alien workers are scanning the border areas.”

He warned that tough legal action will be implemented against those found to be involved in human smuggling gangs.

Walairat Chaifu, chief of the Epidemiology Division of the DDC, said the department is concerned about the risk of a second wave.

There were 169 cases in Mon State sharing the border with Kanchanaburi, 36 cases in Karen State sharing the border with Mae Hong Son, Tak and Kanchanaburi, 23 cases in Shan State sharing the border with Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son, and 21 cases in Tanintharyi sharing the border with Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Ranong.

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