297 COVID cases among illegal immigrants at detention centres in Bangkok

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An additional 297 illegal immigrants from Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia, currently being held in Bangkok immigration detention centres in Bang Khen and Suan Plu, have been found to be infected with COVID-19 in the latest round of proactive screening by health officials, CCSA assistant spokesperson Dr. Apisamai Srirangsan told the media today (Monday).

Due to the sharp increase in infections among the illegal immigrants, on top of the 98 cases found by March 20th, she said that the Immigration Bureau has decided to stop admitting new detainees to the two centres and will isolate asymptomatic cases.

She said the Royal Thai Police are considering the setting up of a field hospital, with 120 beds, to accommodate the symptomatic cases and the stepping up of safety measures at the two detention centres, including vaccination of about 70 immigration officials working there.

Regarding the new cluster in Samut Prakan province, Dr. Apisamai said that 17 migrant workers, at a workers’ camp, have been found to be infected, when proactive screening was started following the discovery of the first case. That patient is a migrant worker who tested positive s in Ayutthaya province on March 13th, underwent a second test in Samut Prakan two days later and was admitted to hospital for treatment.

Subsequent pro-active screening of over 600 workers, at a workers’ camp in Sukhumvit Soi 117, showed positive results for 16 workers. Another 400 migrant workers, at another camp in Soi Sukhumvit 107, were also screened, but cleared of any infections.

The Disease Control Department later reported that the two camps were crowded and the workers shared dormitory accommodation, with some defying company regulations, by venturing out to high-risk areas or partying.

Regarding the situation in Samut Sakhon province, a hotbed of the second outbreak, Dr. Apisamai said that the CCSA might consider further easing of restrictions on April 1st, if the pandemic situation steadily improves.

33 new COVID-19 cases were reported today by the CCSA in Samut Sakhon, with 25 found during proactive screening and eight among those under observation and treatment.

She said that the provincial administration will keep one field hospital open, which can accommodate up to 2,000 beds, for the next 1-2 years.

More than 35,000 people in Samut Sakhon, including frontline health officials and those considered as being at high-risk have, so far, been inoculated. Their second injections are scheduled to start today.

The CCSA is keeping a close watch on the situation in Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi and Suphan Buri, where several infections were found to be linked to the markets in Bang Khae district.



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