11 July 2024

Army personnel will be deployed at construction worker housing facilities in Bangkok and its vicinities, to make sure that their residents remain confined to their camps throughout the one-month closure.

Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said today (Saturday) that Deputy Defence Minister Gen Chaicharn Changmongkol had convened a meeting, with the three armed forces, the Internal Security Operations Command and police, to discuss how the forces could support the government in the fight to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19, especially in and around Bangkok.

He said troops will be deployed at worker housing facilities to ensure their effective lockdown, whereas, in the four southern provinces, troops will support police and local officials inpreventing the interprovincial movement of people, which could contribute to the spread of the disease, particularly the Beta (South African) variant, which is now spreading in neighboring Malaysia.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Mr. Anucha Nakasai said the construction worker housing in Bangkok and in the four southernmost provinces will be closed for a month, starting on Monday, but may be allowed to reopen sooner, if any arecleared of COVID-19 infections and all the workers there have been vaccinated.

For the time being, however, he said the construction firms andcontractors which hire the workers have been told to keep their employees within the housing facility compounds and, in case of Thai workers, prevent them from returning to their home provinces.

He said that officials from the Labour Ministry will visit each housing facility on daily basis, to check that all the workers are still there, so that they can be paid in cash every five days throughout the lockdown. They will receive half of what they used to receive from their employers.

The list of the workers at each camp will be certified by their employers before payments are disbursed by labor officials.

Mr. Anucha also said that the government will take care of supplying food and drinking water for the isolated workers and will ensure that they can pursue as normal a life as possible in the facilities.

In of those who have already set out to return to their home provinces, the government spokesman said that the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has instructed governors to watch out for the returning workers and to consider appropriate quarantine of these people.

For factories in and around Bangkok, Mr. Anucha said that the “bubble and seal” measure has been imposed and only those which are affected by cluster infections have been closed.