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Proposal: stop Covid-19 testing foreign workers in dark red zones

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: A proposal to stop Covid-19 testing in foreign migrant workers was leaked yesterday. (via Flickr the foreign photographer - ฝรั่งถ่)

Thailand’s Minister of Labour Suchat Chomklin is scrambling to explain away a leaked alleged proposal to stop testing foreign migrant workers for Covid-19 after Thai social media exploded all day with criticism. The order had been sent to the Bangkok Employment Office Area 1-10 on July 5, but just came to light yesterday. The proposal to cancel testing for foreign workers in the most at-risk areas because hospitals didn’t have facilities to accommodate many more infections.

It is alleged that the Foreign Workers Administration of the Department of Employment, a department of the Ministry of Labour, cancelled Covid-19 tests for foreign workers because hospitals face shortages of beds, ventilators, medical equipment, and staffing. The Labour Minister said the Bangkok Disease Control Committee would have to approve the order before it could be enacted, and it was only a proposal for now.

The idea enraged many though who felt it was discriminatory to single out foreign workers to be denied Covid-19 testing. It is unclear who made the original proposal to stop Covid-19 testing and the Labour Minister did not comment on its origins.

He did say that testing needed to be continued and is operated by the disease control committee of each province, but as Covid-19 spreads, bed shortages are hampering testing and treatment efforts.

“It is true that hospitals in dark red zone areas are currently very limited and are unavailable to facilitate more infections. They, therefore, had to limit the Covid-19 tests as they had no spare beds for newly infected people.”

In dark red zones including Bangkok, hospital beds are in scarce supply due to increasing Covid-19 infections and Thailand’s continued policy that anyone infected must be immediately admitted to a hospital facility for observation and treatment.

The Labour Minister said that rather than ceasing the testing of foreign migrant workers, the Ministry was looking for more venues to convert into field hospitals.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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