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21 Thais test positive for Covid-19 after allegedly crossing the Thai-Myanmar border illegally




PHOTO: Mae Sot Hospital

21 Thai returnees tested positive for Covid-19 after they were detained for allegedly crossing the Thai-Myanmar border illegally, fleeing from a Covid-19 outbreak at the Sky Complex Casino where they had worked. The returnees are now in quarantine at a Mae Sot district hospital.

Around 300 Thais work at the casino in the neighbouring country’s Myawaddy town just across the Moei River from Tak’s Mae Sot district. Since news of the rise in coronavirus cases just across the river, Thai officials prepared and even reopened a border checkpoint to allow Thais to return home, as long as they go through a mandatory quarantine.

Director general of the Disease Control Department Opas Kankawinpong says they expect hundreds of Thai workers to pass through the border checkpoint.

“We have estimated hundreds of Thais are stuck there. We don’t know how many of them have been infected.”

He says the border checkpoint is reopened to prevent people from “sneaking” in and potentially spreading the virus. Many have been concerned with border breaches after Thai returnees from Myanmar’s Tachileik district tested positive after entering the country illegally as well as the large cluster of Covid-19 cases at a Samut Sakhon seafood market, affecting a large migrant community.

“There will be no more Thai people sneaking into Mae Sot as their illegal movement could pose health dangers to residents in the district and the country.”

SOURCE: Thairath Online| Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, January 11, 2021 at 7:39 pm


    There’s just no excuse.

    Lock them up until there’s a vaccine, with them at the back of the queue.

    • Avatar


      Monday, January 11, 2021 at 10:14 pm

      While I certainly agree with you, doing so might create an even bigger problem. The article points out there are still hundreds of Thais in Burma wanting to return. If you start locking them up, the others will sneak back across the border instead. Defeating the entire purpose. Basically you are screwed if you do or if you don’t punish. As long as there is no work for these people in Thailand, no income, they will go to where the jobs are instead. You can’t expect them to sit in one place, run out of money and slowly starve to death. Thailand needs to create some incentive for them to stop crossing for work. They can’t just sit and wait till they get vaccinated since that might not happen until next year. If anything you need to move them toward the front of the queue. Ironic when you think about it.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11:26 am

        No, Ed V, you’re missing the point which surprises me.

        They CAN return across tge border, perfectly legally, with no penalties at all, and the Thai authorities have even laid on extra staff to facilitate that.

        All they’ll have to do on returning is spend 14 days in quarantine, WHICH IS FREE!

        All they avoid by “sneaking across” is 14 days in free quarantine. Nothing else.

        • Avatar

          Icecream licker

          Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11:35 am

          How do they skip 2 weeks of work and keep a alive? Free doesn’t account for other expenses. Did it ever occur to you, they do this, this way, because they literally need to whatever it takes to stay alive?

          Maybe your narrow mind didn’t amount for this though…

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11:39 am


            So in return for their avoiding 14 days FREE quarantine they not only risk killing people but putting the country in lockdown and trashing the economy even further.

            There’s no excuse and no possible justification for it.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 12:10 pm

            IT’S FREE!

            FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION, and medical treatment if necessary, COMPLETELY FREE!

            … as distinct from paying someone over 6,000 baht to take them across the border!

            … and if you seriously think “whatever it takes to stay alive” includes going to the mall and the first night spent partying it up with friends and a visit to a “full host service” karaoke bar, as was widely reported here and elsewhere for the first one caught, then all I can say is that you’ve got a bizarre idea of what it takes to stay alive and how to excuse the totally inexcusable.

        • Avatar


          Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 1:00 pm

          You’re missing my point John, it was about your call for them to be jailed. Not about Thailand doing anything yet. Also I have no idea why you are making a point about the quarantine being free. I was talking about their need to go to Burma to work, to earn money.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 1:43 pm

            In that case we’re talking about two completely different points and I’m even more baffled by yours.

            What difference does their going to Burma to earn money make?

            My “call for them to be jailed” had nothing to do with “their need to go to Burma to work, to earn money”.

            My “call for them to be jailed” was because they came back illegally, which they each paid over 6,000 baht for judging by previous reports, just to avoid spending 14 days in quarantine which is free.

            I didn’t spell it out in my original comment as it’s been discussed here before and so I didn’t think it was necessary to repeat what I’d assumed was blindingly obvious.

            Mea Culpa, evidently.

            What baffles me about your original comment, though, re-reading it, is that IF you were aware that quarantine is FREE and that there are NO other penalties for returning legally other than the free quarantine, you’re saying that “you need to move them toward the front of the queue”.

            Are you serious?

            You don’t just not punish those returning to Thailand and give them free quarantine for a fortnight and free hospital treatment if necessary, but you ALSO “move them toward the front of the queue” for a vaccine???!!!

            IF you were aware of the free quarantine and suspension of any punishment, are you sure you meant to say that?

            That the way to get vaccinated early should be to cross over to Burma illegally, then come back and hand yourself in?

            I’m fairly sure that’s not what you meant, but IF you were aware of the free quarantine, etc, that’s what you’re saying!!! 🙂

    • Avatar


      Monday, January 11, 2021 at 10:18 pm

      Covid is not a death sentence. 99.8% of people survive, most with only mild symptoms or no symptoms.

      • Avatar


        Monday, January 11, 2021 at 11:39 pm

        Maybe not a death sentence…

        But what does the lock down do economically? How many billions of damage done to the economy? Expats have to pay for a quarantine hotel and stay for 2 weeks in isolation and these idiots, infected with Covid, enter the country illegally…

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11:38 am


          So in return for their avoiding 14 days FREE quarantine they not only risk killing people but putting the country in lockdown and trashing the economy even further.

          There’s no excuse and no possible justification for it.

          • Avatar

            Icecream licker

            Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11:51 am

            They aren’t the ones putting the country in lockdown. Good way to deflect the real source of lockdowns… um. The govt.

            Killing people? 67 deaths in 1 year with no cycle threshold reporting and you’re still sounding the alarm of what could happen but in 12 months has yet to manifest any tangible aspect of what you claim will happen?

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 8:30 am

        I don’t know where you get your data, however per John’s Hopkins and world population numbers show that 2.2% of those infected die. So 97.8% survive. Many of those that survived spent a lot of time in hospital and will have long lasting effects. Just because you don’t die doesn’t mean it’s not a terrible disease.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 12:54 pm

          Where @dispensed and others get their data from, apart from each other or plucking it out of thin air, is by confusing two completely different stats.

          Yours is the fatality rate for those catching Covid, which John’s Hopkins, WorldData and countless other independent and reliable sources put at 2.2%.

          @dispensed’s (and others’) has nothing to do with the fatality rate for those catching Covid but is some variant of the percentage of the fatality rate for the entire world population.

          Totally different.

          Yours is verifiably correct, his is verifiably nonsense.

    • Avatar

      David Beckman

      Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 8:15 am

      John you must be Australian, that’s the brain dead mentality of a 12 year old your showing there. This is there country not yours they have every right to come home and yes some do it illegally but they work across borders because they are poor and trying to survive so you think they can afford to go to lockdown for 2 weeks? Also Thailand isn’t in lockdown and we all know there are many with covid wandering the provinces so a hand full from Burma won’t make any difference. Absolutely ridiculous comment from you.”Again”

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 1:03 pm

        OF COURSE they “have every right to come home”.

        But they can do so LEGALLY, at NO cost to themselves at all because their quarantine, INCLUDING ACCOMMODATION, FOOD AND ALL MEDICAL TREATMENT IS FREE.


        Instead, because they don’t want to spend 14 days in FREE quarantine, they pay over 6,000 baht to come across ILLEGALLY just to avoid the free quarantine.

        … and there aren’t “a handfull” of them, there are hundreds.

        What part of that don’t you understand or think isn’t correct?

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 2:48 pm

        ….most English speaking 12 year olds would know the difference between “there country” and their country.

    • Avatar


      Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 8:36 am

      John, I had high hopes that your rhetoric had tempered itself a bit lately. However, sad to see it hasn’t. Just like in the US, a wall only causes desperate people to break the law.

    • Avatar


      Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 10:27 am

      Be careful now Issan John, you are slowly turning into an authoritarian… that is what covid-obsession is turning the world into. And as I said before, we all know the last stage of obsession: insanity. Get a grip of yourself mate, you are getting there…

    • Avatar


      Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11:44 am

      Lol guys chill out on Issan John. He’s often reasonable enough and on the frontlines of fighting disinformation. Doesn’t mean his world views must agree with you.

    • Avatar

      Icecream licker

      Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11:48 am

      Idk about the rest of you, but I agree with John. How dare the thai people cross imaginary lines with out the approval of the authorities. Covid is a new invisible enemy, just like 9/11.

      We must follow every order from the govt. If we don’t bad things can happen… or so I’ve been told.

      This breach of company security must be persecuted to the fullest extent!

      Have we learned nothing from history?

      Only the govt can keep you safe from yourself!

  2. Avatar


    Monday, January 11, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    grow a pair john.

  3. Avatar


    Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 1:15 am

    “even reopened a border checkpoint to allow Thais to return home, as long as they go through a mandatory quarantine.”

    How generous. Who would have thought that there are people at the borders wanting to make a quick couple hundred Bahts for border crossing services. If I was Thai I would do the same. Who’re you to lock me out of my own country? Something like that.

    Moral justifications are easily found so helping people return and providing acceptable quarantine solutions make much more sense than treating humans as statistical numbers.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 2:44 pm

      I can’t work out if we’re in agreement or not, Ynwaps.

      In a nutshell, Thais who’ve been working illegally in Myanmar have two options if they want to return to Thailand:

      Option 1: Pay an agent 6,000 baht each to smuggle them back across the border illegally so that they’re free to go anywhere they want to in Thailand straightaway, including spending the first night partying it up with friends and visiting a “full host service” karaoke bar and the next day in the shopping mall, as the first one caught did, ignoring that if they have Covid-19 (as 17 out of one group of 22 did) it could kill people and result in a full or partial lockdown affecting tens of millions of people.

      Option 2: Go through the re-opened border checkpoint legally and spend 14 days in quarantine, free, after which they can do whatever they want including visiting a “full host service ” karaoke bar, etc, without being responsible directly or indirectly for anyone dying or for a full or partial lockdown affecting tens of millions of others.

      It’s a pretty binary choice.

      I’m for Option 2, but apparently somehow that makes me an authoritarian.

      Michael also seems to be clearly Option 2.

      Ed V seems to be for Option 1, with the addition that they should also be moved up the queue for a Covid jab (although, TBF, I don’t think that’s what he meant).

      Icecream L is for Option 1, as is David B, as apparently 14 days in free quarantine is unaffordable while 6,000 baht to be smuggled across the border is somehow do-able.

      RA also seems to be Option 1, despite thinking it’s a “terrible disease”, as for some reason he thinks that 14 days free quarantine will make people “desperate” so they’ll “break the law”, pay their money instead and go for Option 1.

      Dispensed can’t see any problem with anything as he thinks Covid-19 doesn’t affect 99.8% of those who catch it.

      I’ve no idea what Manu and Bill think, if “think” is the right word.

      … so, sorry to put you on the spot, but are you for Option 1 or Option 2?

  4. Avatar


    Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 6:53 am

    If these people are crossing back illegally because they left illegally, declare an amnesty, then anyone crossing illegally is only trying to avoid quarantine or is a criminal on the run, then they get 2 years jail immediately

  5. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    I still find it hard to believe that there are people out there who probably otherwise appear perfectly sane and rational but keep banging on about “cycle thresholds” as if they’re significant, and who think that anything beyond “67 deaths in a year” is pure speculation with nothing “tangible” to support it.

    “Yes”, any measure can be “fudged”, deliberately or by accident, from height to weight via temperature, BP and ECGs, if the equipment isn’t used properly, as laid down by the manufacturers.
    A tape measure can be either too tight or too slack, or a thermometer put in the wrong place, but I’ve never seen anyone asking for “reporting” of whether the manufacturers’ instructions were followed there.
    Exactly the same applies to PCR test thresholds, which involve nothing more than a lab tech dialling in the number of cycles, but somehow this has gained mythical status among the QAnon / conspiracy theorist / satan worshipping / baby eating brigade and needs “reporting”.

    … and “yes”, only 67 have died so far in Thailand in 12 months, but that isn’t the case elsewhere and Thais are hardly likely to be magically immune to something that “tangibly” affects everyone else in the world. In the UK, with a similar size population, well over a thousand times that number have died and ten times that number have been dying on a daily basis recently.

    If you’re in a crowded room with a rabid dog and it’s in a cage so you’re safe, you don’t release the dog just because it hasn’t bitten anyone so far – particularly when other rooms with a rabid dog in them have also remained safe, keeping it caged, but those that haven’t have suffered the consequences.

    …. and it isn’t the “magic pebble keeps the crocodile away” argument, as the crocodiles are tangible and real.

    … it’s insanity, plain and simple, but some people are still peddling it here.

    • Avatar

      Leo Z

      Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 6:52 am

      On this one I agree with you John. These people entered Myanmar illegally and now they are entering Thailand illegally.

      Many people are not aware that all foreigners entering Myanmar are subject to a mandatory 7-day quarantine in government facilities and then another 7 days at a hotel or home. Basically these Thai workers are skipping quarantine simply because they can (or could) with the excuse, as presented by others here, that they need to make money(!). So, what’s next? Robbery is ok because they are desperate and need money?

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 5:32 pm

        Thank you – I was beginning to think Michael was the only one here able to think rationally, which was worrying 🙂

        What amazes me with the excuse that they “need to make money” is that the legal option allows them to, whilst its the illegal option that actually costs them money!

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