Thailand’s Covid 19 centre has warned of complacency among the Thai public following the publication of an opinion poll this week which showed two-thirds of people are not concerned about the virus. Officials have begun warning of the danger posed by illegal migrants spreading the disease and the threat from the rest of the world even as Thailand’s borders remain shut to normal visitors, tourists or air passengers.
Senior Thai government officials, this week, while welcoming reports of increased use of public transport and activity in the domestic economy, are warning the public about a potentially complacent attitude to the threat from the Covid 19 virus which still lurks. Covid 19 centre spokesman Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, warned of intelligence suggesting that up to 3,000 migrants have illegally penetrated Thailand’s borders, illicitly seeking work or other opportunities. He confirmed that some have already tested positive for the virus.
In Thailand, however, the evidence is showing the public appears to be growing increasingly relaxed about the threat from the disease. Over the holiday weekend, recently, the Thai government’s own surveys and analysis showed that 11 million Thais undertook journeys away from home and that the use of public transport in the kingdom was up 15% on last year.
A Suan Dusit poll, last weekend, showed that nearly two-thirds of Thai people are no longer too concerned about the virus as a threat.
Warning that up to 3,000 illegal migrants already have breached Thailand’s borders and pose a risk
This situation has drawn the fire of Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, the trusted face of the government’s team handling this outbreak.
He warned, this week, that up to 3,000 illegal migrants have been detected by security agencies including the Immigration Bureau trying to enter Thailand surreptitiously.
Dr Taweesilp said he has been informed that some have even reached Thailand’s inner provinces. He has also confirmed instances where some of these workers have tested positive for Covid 19.
A security task force under Major General Thanatpol Kosaisewi has been deployed to prevent illegal entry into the kingdom by migrants seeking work at a time when millions of Thais cannot find gainful employment.
Covid 19 spokesman urges the continuation of mask-wearing at all times in public to ward off the threat
Dr Taweesilp stressed the continued importance, to ward off the threat from the virus, of wearing masks in public, social distancing and hygiene measures such as regularly washing hands.
He has been joined by leading Thai medical expert, Dr Thira Woratanarat, who urged the government to be cautious in its approach to any relaxation of its international travel policy toward tourism at this time when the Covid 19 pandemic is still at critical levels across the world’s continents.
The World Health Organisation estimates that the global peak of the pandemic has not yet been arrived at.
Medical expert says pandemic is still raging globally
Earlier, Dr Thira, an epidemiologist at Chulalongkorn University, urged the government to exercise extreme caution when considering planned travel bubble arrangements to quickly restart the foreign tourism sector.
The kingdom has gone 44 days now without a case of local transmission but authorities and Thailand’s medical elite are calling for continued public vigilance against the threat.
Thailand is now effectively sealed off from the world
The warning comes as Thailand’s borders and air space remain closed to normal traffic including commercial air travel at this time.
All entry into the kingdom is on a case by case basis with mandatory quarantine within state facilities or costly commercial quarantine for foreigners.
There are reported to be tens of thousands of foreigners with property and family in Thailand still locked out of the country and facing extreme bottlenecks including a limited ability to process entry applications into the kingdom because of a very limited number of government-organised repatriation flights.
The country, this week, shelved indefinitely a plan aimed at Chinese and Asian tourists to relaunch foreign tourism using the travel bubble concept which has been rejected by authorities in the UK and many European countries as impractical and difficult to implement.