Quarantine camp for COVID-19 infected migrant workers in Bangkok proposed

Myanmar migrant workers register for testing at a Covid-19 coronavirus mobile testing clinic in Pathum Thani province on January 10, 2021. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

The advisory committee of Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has recommended that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) set up a special camp for the quarantine of COVID-19 infected foreign migrant workers, to cope with increasing number of cases, CCSA Spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin said today (Thursday).

The advisory panel, led by Clinical Professor Emeritus Dr. Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, cited the model in Pathum Thani province, where an old market has been converted into a field hospital, barricaded from all sides, to accommodate migrant workers who tested positive for the disease.

According to the advisory committee, there are an estimated 1.3 million legal migrant workers in Bangkok and its peripherals, including 580,000 in Bangkok, 230,000 in Samut Sakhon, 160,000 in Samut Prakan, 130,000 in Pathum Thani, 99,000 in Nonthaburi and 93,000 in Nakhon Pathom.

Dr. Taweesin said there are 409 construction worker dormitory camps in Bangkok’s 50 districts, currently housing over 62,000 workers, among them about 26,000 Thais and around 36,000 foreign migrant workers.

Pro-active screenings have found about 300 new COVID cases per day among the construction workers and the need for hospital beds in Bangkok has increased to about 800 per day, he added.

On top of the legal migrant workers, there are also about a million other migrant workers, many of them sharing housing with the legal workers or who are on the move to avoid arrest, said Dr. Taweesin, adding that this pattern of behavior has made containment of the disease difficult.

To address this problem, he said the advisory committee proposed the setting up of a special camp to house the infected migrant workers, adding that the committee also proposed an extension of amnesty, to allow the illegal migrants to register, become legal workers and be placed under proper control.


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