11 July 2024

Local officials, on the Thai-Myanmar border committee in Chiang Rai province and Myanmar’s Thachilek township, held their first meeting of the year today (Tuesday), to discuss the orderly repatriation of Thai nationals working in Myanmar, and human smuggling, in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Thailand.

Leading the Thai representatives at the meeting, held in the middle of the Second Friendship Bridge, was Maj-Gen Narith Thavornwong, commander of the Pha Muang Task Force, while his Myanmar counterpart was the governor of Thachilek U Min Nai.

Sources close to the Thai delegation said the Thachilek governor agreed to Maj-Gen Narith’s request to arrange for the orderly repatriation of Thais, but they must register first and pay fines for illegal entry, without facing imprisonment.

The governor said, however, that the process could take as long as 16 days, but he promised to try to speed up the process, as requested by the Thai delegation, on the condition that it must comply with the law in Myanmar.

Both sides also undertook to do their best to stem illegal cross border traffic.

Meanwhile, the director of Thachilek Hospital assured that, although infections in the border town are increasing, the outbreak is under control.

Thailand’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul was in Chiang Rai today, to inspect preparations and measures in place to cope with the outbreak.

So far, there have been 34 cases reported in the province, all linked to Thachilek.