COVID-19: Thailand to take legal action against quarantine dodgers

COVID-19: Thailand to take legal action against quarantine dodgers

BANGKOK: Thailand will take legal action against quarantine flouters who sneaked into the kingdom from Myanmar via natural border crossings and tested positive for COVID-19 days later. 

The new wave of COVID-19 fear rises as a total of four Thai nationals who bypassed immigration checks and entered the kingdom illegally in the northern province of Chiang Rai have tested positive for COVID-19 thus far.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha said the relevant authorities were stepping up efforts to stop illegal border crossings in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

However, he said, many ignored the government’s efforts to control the pandemic.

“They are still doing it (illegally entering Thailand). They (quarantine flouters) should be prosecuted,” he said at a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting, here, today.

In the latest development, a 25-year-old Thai woman sneaked into the kingdom last Tuesday and tested positive for COVID-19 today.

Disease Control Department director, Dr Sophon Iamsirithawon said the woman from Payao Province, was a colleague of three previous confirmed cases. The four of them worked at an entertainment outlet at the border town of Tachileik in Myanmar.

He said the woman and two friends returned to Thailand last Tuesday and stayed at a hotel in Chiang Rai.

“She tested positive for COVID-19 while her two friends were negative,” he said.

Health officials identified 10 people, including six high-risk ones who were possibly in contact with the patient.

Last Tuesday, a 29-year-old Thai woman returned from Myanmar to Mae Sai, Chiang Rai via the land border, and later boarded a public bus to Chiang Mai. The woman too skipped compulsory quarantine and tested positive days later.

On Sunday, two Thai women, aged 23 and 26, who bypassed immigration checks tested positive for COVID-19.

To date, there is no local transmission reported following the four cases.

Thailand has recorded 4,008 COVID-19 cases and 60 fatalities.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul said all laws including the Immigration Act and Communicable Diseases Act would be used against quarantine dodgers

“These selfish people cause trouble to many Thais…. They cause national damage and do not deserve sympathy,” he said, quoting Bangkok Post.