Thai social media frenzy as 5000 set to return from South Korea

Thai social media is abuzz  with fears that some of the roughly 5000 Thai nationals preparing to return from South Korea may carry the COVID-19 coronavirus, which has now killed 17 people there and 2979 worldwide. Most of the 5,000 are thought to be Thai prostitutes and agricultural workers among the thousands of Thais who work illegally in the country on tourist visas.

One online site, Drama-Addict, says the returnees be should kept away from the general population, some netizens even suggesting the “Phee Noi” (little ghosts in Thai) be sent to a remote island for a two week quarantine. Some 5,000 workers are in the process of returning to Thailand from Korea. Among these, 136 are believed to be coming from Daegu, where the outbreak has been most severe.

South Korea has declared an amnesty for Thais overstaying in the country: those who turn themselves in from now until the end of June will not be fined or blacklisted, according to Thai Rath.  Korean media reports that authorities are giving appropriate medical treatment to Thais regardless of their legal or status in the country.

SOURCES: thaivisa | Thai Rath

Jack Burton

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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