COVID-19: Thailand tightens border control to prevent possible second wave

BANGKOK – Thailand has tightened its enforcement at the borders – land and the waters – to curb the entry of migrant workers after concerns surged over a possible second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Immigration Bureau (IB) chief Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang said there is a surge in demand for migrant workers as the COVID-19 situation improves and business activities resumed in the kingdom.

However, he said all entry points remain closed for tourists and migrant workers, prompting some migrant workers to attempt to sneak into the kingdom and dodge the 14-day quarantine at the state facility.

“Previously, the agent fee for a migrant worker to cross the borders was between 1,000 baht (RM134) to 2,000 baht (RM268). Now, it jumps up to 10,000 baht (RM1,344) when entry point remains closed,” he said.

He added that the security authorities arrested more than 3,000 migrant workers who tried to sneak into the kingdom since last month.

Sompong urged employers to employ documented migrant workers to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the kingdom.

“We should protect the people and the country (from COVID-19). We must prevent the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand and ensure zero local transmission,” he said.