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Myanmar Covid-19 outbreak could reach Thai border in 2 weeks, health offical says

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Prachatai

A health official predicts the coronavirus will reach the Thai-Myanmar border in the next 2 weeks. Border security has already tightened up after Myanmar reported a surge of Covid-19 cases. While the Thai government is making sure the virus isn’t coming in from other countries, the Ministry of Public Health is also investigating potential local transmissions.

The coronavirus situation in the neighbouring country is a great concern for Thailand, according to the director of the Division of Communicable Diseases, Sophon Iamsirithavorn. The outbreak mostly spread in the Rakhine state, on Myanmar’s western coast. The major virus hotspots in Myanmar are still far from Thailand, but Sophon says the virus will spread to border towns within the next 2 weeks.

Coronavirus scares at border towns have already caused some schools to shut down to disinfect their classrooms. Border officers are also keeping close watch, making sure people aren’t crossing natural borders like rivers and mountains. Numerous Burmese nationals were arrested over the past week for allegedly crossing the border. A recent police chase even caused a truck full of migrants to flip.

Border officials have also tightened patrol at areas along the Thai-Cambodia border they say are “at risk” of spreading the virus. Officers recently arrested 3 Cambodian men after they allegedly crawled under razor wire fences. The men were immediately screened for the virus. The men told police they often sell food at a Thai market.

While making sure the virus doesn’t make it’s way from Myanmar or Cambodia and into Thailand, health officials are still trying to figure out a reported local Covid-19 case. A Bangkok DJ tested positive Covid-19 during a routine check at a local prison after he was arrested on drug charges. Thailand went 100 days without a reported local transmission of the virus. Health officials do not know where the man came in contact with the virus.

Thai officials are also investigating another coronavirus mystery. A 50 year old South Korean national returned home from Thailand last week and tested positive for Covid-19. He entered South Korea on September 4 and the test was confirmed positive the following day.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Facebook

 

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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