Health officials reveal concerns about illegal migrants bringing delta variant into Prachuap Khiri Khan

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Migrants stopped trying to cross the border into Prachuap Khiri Khan illegally on October 6.

Public health officials have revealed their concern about migrant workers entering the province illegally and spreading infections of COVID-19.

On Friday (Oct 15), Mr. Rewat Suk-horm, Muang District Public Health Office, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, revealed how more than 100 migrant workers have been caught entering the province illegally across the border with Myanmar in the the past two weeks alone.

Of those caught, 10 percent were confirmed as being infected with the more dangerous and contagious delta variant of COVID-19.

The situation concerning migrant workers entering the province illegally who are potentially infected with the delta variant was described as ‘dangerous’.

Health officials fear that illegal migrant workers could start new clusters which could be difficult to trace and contain.

Furthermore, the migrant workers are likely to head to industrial plants, fruit processing factories or fisheries in search of work, meaning they could come in to contact with a large number of other people, which in turn also increases the chance of a COVID cluster forming, Mr Rewat said.

Pol Col Samer Yusamran, the superintendent of the Prachuap Khiri Khan Police Station explained that in order to limit the risk of infection, a detention facility at the police station now strictly follows the necessary preventative measures.

However, due to the large number of illegal migrant workers being held there, the detention facility is at full capacity.

Therefore, the army has been drafted in to repatriate the illegal migrants back to Myanmar.

But this only a short term fix to what is an ongoing problem.

Speaking to Thai media, border officials revealed the continued battle of apprehending illegal migrants during the pandemic.

Officials say there is a large migrant camp in the Tanintharyi region of Myanmar, located not far from the Singkhon checkpoint.

Migrants from the camp pay a broker as little as 500 baht each to be smuggled over the border.

The migrants are guided through plantations and pathways along the natural border which are very difficult for Thai officials to patrol.

There is even a supply network that provides the brokers and migrants with food and shelter as they make their journey over the border, officials said.

Those that are caught are then returned to Myanmar before the whole process starts again.

The news comes at the same time health officials have spoken of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the province.

Friday marked the third successive day where the daily number of COVID-19 infections in the province has been more than 100 cases.

The spike in cases is due a number of clusters discovered in the province.

In Hua Hin, the cluster at Chatchai market has now resulted in more than 60 cases and a cluster at the Jek Pia restaurant has resulted in 11 cases, while a cluster found at the Sergeant Major School in Hua Hin has resulted in an accumulated total of 380 cases.

Other major clusters around the province include:

Pranburi:

Chatkaew market – 293 cases
Tipco factory – 76 cases
Siam Agro Industry factory – 58 cases
Natural Fruit factory – 55 cases

 

 

 

 

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