Facing mounting criticism of the plight of migrant workers, often Burmese or Cambodian immigrants, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Minister of Labour Suchat Chomklin has spoken out in defence of the treatment of foreigners within Thailand. He stressed to the press that all laws and policies are non-discriminatory and that the government has addressed the concerns and safety of foreign workers during the pandemic.
He said that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan have enacted policies that have offered much-needed aid and assistance to migrant workers without discriminating against foreigners in providing healthcare. Suchat highlighted Thailand’s healthcare systems in place for their efficiency and flexibility to meet the demands created by Covid-19.
The Labor Minister spoke about the meals that were being provided for the tens of thousands of foreigners and Thai staff in work camps that have now been quarantined across Bangkok and its neighbouring provinces. The close quarters of these labour camps create an all-to-fertile breeding ground for Covid-19 outbreaks and infection spreads. They were the cause of Thailand’s second wave of Covid-19 and often face sudden and severe lockdown restrictions when one positive Covid-19 infection reveals clusters within work camps of hundreds of infected people.
520 work camps within Bangkok and another 797 camps outside of the province are receiving 1 prepared meal per day for all the migrant and Thai workers, provided by the government. This amounts to about half a million meals delivered outside Bangkok and 750,000 meals distributed throughout the capital city.
Still, migrant workers are struggling with factories and construction sites closed due to Covid-19 and have been rallying the government for assistance.
Sucharat continued to sing the praises of the government’s handling of migrant workers and foreigners during Covid-19 in discussing vaccination and testing. He said over 38,000 workers had been tested at Din Daeng stadium and that 46,451 foreign workers had received a vaccine. This may be a response to a leaked proposal to deal with infection figures soaring and hospital bed shortages by stopping testing in migrant work camps in dark red zones to lower the numbers and bed occupancy.
The Minister of Labour claimed that migrant and immigrant rights, including the right to vaccination, had been protected and that the government is committed to the health of foreigners in Thailand.
SOURCE: ASEAN Now
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