Wave of Thai returnees puts country on its guard

Thailand is bracing for the return of hundreds more Thais from overseas, potentially adding to a Covid-19 case count which is currently on a declining trend.

Ninety-two Thais working in South Korea will land at Suvarnabhumi Airport tonight, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said on Wednesday (April 15).

All arrivals will be placed under state quarantine, he insisted.

Meanwhile, 120 Thai workers in the United Arab Emirates and another 70 working in the Maldives will arrive back in Bangkok tomorrow.

On Friday (April 17), 35 Thais will leave Bangladesh bound for Suvarnabhumi Airport.

A report that more than 3,000 Thais would return from India on Saturday (April 18) went unconfirmed by Dr Taweesin.

However, he said the number of returnees would not be that high, since the government limits arrivals of Thais from overseas to 200 per day.

He said there was enough room at state quarantine facilities to accommodate the new arrivals.

The number of new virus cases confirmed daily has dropped to around 30 this past week, but Taweesin said the country must remain on its guard.

“We are satisfied to some extent, but we want to see new daily cases drop to single digits,” he said.

“The situation is still a cause for concern even though the number is on a downward trend. We must not let our guard down,’’ he added.

He was also concerned that infection rates elsewhere in Asia, Europe and the United States are still far worse than in Thailand.

Thailand’s total tally of Covid-19 cases rose to 2,643 on Wednesday, with 30 new cases confirmed over the past 24 hours.

This compares with 54 new cases announced last Thursday, 50 on Friday, 45 on Saturday, 33 on Sunday, 28 on Monday and 34 on Tuesday. Two new fatalities on Wednesday took the death toll to 43.

Thailand on Wednesday extended the ban on incoming flights until the end of this month, with exemptions for flights given special permission to land.

“For Thai students who are stranded in the United States, more details of their flight arrangements will be announced tomorrow, Taweesin added.