Thai embassy staff to arrive in Wuhan on Sunday to facilitate evacuations

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Three staff from the Thai embassy in Beijing have left the Chinese capital by car heading to Wuhan, the epicentre of novel coronavirus outbreak, to facilitate the evacuation of some 160 Thais stuck in the Chinese city.

The Thai embassy said that the 1,200km journey will take 14-15 hours to drive and the three officials, namely first secretaries Nirat Kanchanarachit and Methas Chaikput and second secretary Atkhanit Kamgate, are expected to arrive on Sunday.

After the completion of their mission in Wuhan, the embassy said that the three officials will be quarantined for 14 days, as mandated by Chinese authorities, so they may be observed to make sure that they are not infected by the deadly pathogen.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said today that he had spoken with the Chinese chargé d’affaires in Thailand to inform the envoy of Thailand’s readiness to airlift the Thai citizens in Wuhan and was told that Chinese officials are coordinating with the Thai embassy accordingly.

He assured that there is no problem and the stranded Thais can be flown home on Tuesday.

The minister disclosed that the number of Thai people in Wuhan, who wish to return to Thailand, has increased to about 160.

All the evacuees, he said, will be subjected to a period of quarantine, in accordance with international standard practice.

Explaining why the government did not suspend the visa on arrival facility for Chinese tourists, Mr. Anutin said the number of Chinese arrivals has already fallen drastically and those already in Thailand can be readily located. Therefore, suspending visa facility would have little positive, and could harm the good relations between Thailand and China.


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