Residents in border areas accuse officials of lax control over Burmese drivers

PHOTO: Mikhail Esteves on Flickr

Residents in the Mae Sot district of Tak province, bordering Myanmar, have criticised what they see as lax checking of Burmese truck drivers arriving from the Covid-hit neighbour next door. Concerned residents are calling for the Friendship Bridge to be temporarily closed in light of a surge in virus cases in Myanmar. The bridge, which spans the Moei River, connects Mae Sot with the Burmese city of Myawaddy.

Mae Sot residents gathered at a checkpoint at the bridge, with protest leaders giving speeches that accused officials of being too relaxed in the control of vehicles arriving from Myanmar. One accusation levied against the authorities is that they had allowed some drivers to enter densely-populated areas, such as fresh markets.

Anxiety is high in the border area, after 3 Burmese truck drivers tested positive for Covid-19, with officials subsequently having to deploy mobile units to test nearly 10,000 Thais and resident Burmese. It’s understood everyone tested so far has come up negative for the virus, but the development has done little to ease the worries of those living in the area.

Thai PBS World reports that the deputy governor of Tak province, Somchai Kitcharoenroongrote, held a 2-hour discussion with protesting residents. From those talks, it was agreed the Friendship Bridge will remain open, but Burmese truck drivers crossing from Myanmar will not be permitted to enter Mae Sot town.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Covid-19 NewsNorthern Thailand News

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Maya Taylor

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