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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thousands of Thais to return by the end of May

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: MCOT

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has announced that all Thai nationals, stranded abroad during the peak of the outbreak, will be repatriated. The government is preparing to welcome around 7,000 returnees who will arrive by the end of the month.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the CCSA says that the centre is working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and related other agencies to bring more stranded Thais home.

“Since April 4, we have repatriated 4,637 Thais stranded in 27 countries across the world, and we are now planning to bring another 7,000 back by the end of this month.”

Taweesilp says any Thai citizen abroad wishing to return must inform the Thai embassy in the country they are staying of their plans, so quarantine arrangements can be made. He stressed the 14 day state quarantine is mandatory for all returnees.

According to the CCSA, around 9,000 Thais overseas have lodged requests to return to Thailand. The largest number of requests came from Thais in the US, which also has the highest confirmed number of virus cases and fatalities.

“Those seeking to return must contact the nearest Thai embassies or consulates as soon as possible because the government needs to know the number of returnees and their date of arrival.”

“If the number of returnees from a single destination is greater than the capacity of the repatriation flight, some people will have to wait for the next flight, and those who registered earlier will be given priority

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do its best to help all Thais who want to return home. Yesterday 161 Thais arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport on a repatriation flight arranged by the Thai Consulate-General in Hong Kong, along with 131 other Thais from the Maldives.

Taweesilp says 59 Thais from Myanmar, 110 from Germany and 122 from Pakistan are scheduled to arrive today, and another 150 each from South Korea and South Africa will arrive tomorrow.

The government has also organised special flights to repatriate Thai citizens stranded in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Japan, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Taiwan, India, and the US. Those flights will depart beginning tomorrow through Monday. The government has prepared 796 quarantine facilities nationwide with a total of nearly 21,000 beds to handle the influx.

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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