11 July 2024

A limited curfew, from midnight until 4am, has been imposed on two bridges linking Mae Sai district, of Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Rai, with Myanmar’s Thachilek township. Trading on the two bridges was also ordered to close at 6pm as the Chiang Rai provincial administration steps up measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 from across the border.

Two female Thai bar workers, working in the Thachilek township, slipped back into Mae Sai district last week and both tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday. They are now being treated at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital.  The third, working in the same bar, travelled to Chiang Mai and also tested positive, after she developed symptoms associated with the virus.

The infection of the three women, who slipped into Thailand through illegal natural border crossings, has caused alarm among health officials in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces.  Hundreds of people who were in close contact with them have been traced by health officials for screening or to be advised to confine themselves at home.

On Sunday, the Chiang Rai provincial administration issued an announcement for passengers in a van, registration number 10-2973, travelling from Mae Sai district on November 24th at 9.30 am to Chiang Rai bus terminal, to report to their nearest hospital or to the provincial health office as quickly as possible.  The three infected women travelled in the same van after their arrival in Mae Sai.

Dr. Sophon Iamsirithavorn, director of General Communicable Diseases Division of the Disease Control Department, said that, so far, 65 high-risk people have been screened and none of them tested positive, but they will have to remain in state quarantine for 14 days for observation.

Public health volunteers have been instructed to keep watch on those quarantined at home, as managers of hotels and condominiums were also asked to keep watch on those in isolation in their premises, to make sure they remain in quarantine for 14 days.

COVID-19 is spreading in Thachilek, with nine new cases recorded on Saturday, bringing the total to 21.