11 July 2024

All people who travelled between Myanmar and Thailand’s Chiang Rai province in November have been told to report to health officials or village heads for COVID-19 screening, as the provincial administration steps up efforts to contain the virus after at least three Thais returning from Myanmar’s Thachilek township were found to be infected.

The announcement was issued today by Chiang Rai Governor Prajon Pratsakul, in his capacity as head of the provincial communicable diseases committee, in the wake of the rising number of infections in Thachilek and the increase in illegal border crossings, by both Thai and Myanmar people.

The Chiang Rai provincial administration also labelled, as fake news, an online report that the administration has imposed a lockdown, preventing all outsiders from entering Chiang Rai.

Dr. Tossathep Boonthong, the provincial health chief, said that Chiang Rai had been without a single new COVID-19 case until last week, when at least three Thai bar workers, returning from Myanmar, tested positive for the virus.

He advised people in the province to wear face masks while outdoors, to observe social distancing and to wash their hands regularly for their own safety.

A Thai bar worker, who used to work in Myanmar’s border township of Thachilek and slipped back to Thailand via Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, has been found to be infected with COVID-19 and is currently being treated at a hospital in the northern province of Phayao.

According to Phayao provincial governor Kamol Chiangwong, the woman in question worked in a karaoke bar in Thachilek between November 1st and 27th and crossed the border illegally into Mae Sai district on November 28th.

The timeline shows she stayed with a friend in Mae Sai district and travelled, by taxi, to Muang district, where she stayed at a hotel and visited a department store on November 29th.  She left for Chiang Mai the following day and went to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital for a COVID-19 test, returning home in Phayao province the same evening without waiting for the test result, which confirmed the infection.