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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Border closures hurting provincial economies

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Voice of America

“If the closure continues beyond April, they will be heavily indebted and small businesses will collapse, worsening the situation.”

The spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus has meant the closure of Thailand’s borders with neighbouring countries, and people in border provinces are paying a heavy toll. The communities around border crossing areas have been traditionally busy centres for local economies. Now, the crossing and checkpoints are closed.

The people of Nakhon Phanom in Thailand’s northeast are asking the government for help. Four checkpoints in the province, in Muang, Ban Phaeng, Tha Uthen and That Phanom districts are closed since Sunday night by order of the provincial governor in the wake of the outbreak.

The chairman of the province’s Passenger Boat Association says the closure order has strongly affected operators of boats and ferries plying the Mekong River, linking Thailand and Laos.

Port areas in the Nakhon Phanom Municipality, once buzzing with tourism-related businesses and activities, are now quiet. Only goods vehicles are allowed to cross the border via the 3rd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge linking Nakhon Phanom with Laos.

Vendors, porters and manual workers are now out of work and, unprepared for a shutdown, many have run out of money for food.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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