BANGKOK (NNT) – Thailand’s Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, insists that COVID-19 cases in Thailand can still be traced, and this is not a second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mr. Anutin said COVID-19 has not spread extensively in the country and the situation remains under control. Health authorities found that the origin of all recent cases is Tachilek, Myanmar.

The problem emerged after a group of people entered Thailand illegally, because they did not want to be quarantined for 14 days, and this was a selfish act.

The Public Health Minister has instructed relevant agencies to notify relatives of Thai people in Tachilek to report, to prevent illegal entry.

After returning to Thailand legally, they are required to complete the 14-day quarantine. Disease control officials are ready to look after all Thais living near border checkpoints. Mr. Anutin also agreed with entrepreneurs who want to take legal action against illegal returnees, as they have caused damage to their businesses.

The Public Health Minister added that the Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, has directed the Spokesman for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, to provide factual information and updates on a daily basis, to correct misunderstandings and rumors.

Chiang Rai to hold “Big Cleaning” to boost confidence

After a group of people entered Thailand from Myanmar, Chiang Rai authorities reported that six people in state quarantine tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. In an effort to boost the confidence of local people and tourists ahead of the long holiday, a “Big Cleaning” event will take place throughout the northern province this Thursday (Dec 10).

The Governor of Chiang Rai, Prajon Prachsakul, said different sectors will join the “Big Cleaning” event and announced that there will be no lockdown in the province. If no new infections are reported in the next 14 to 25 days, Chiang Rai would be considered a safe destination.

Yesterday, six people, who were placed in state quarantine in Chiang Rai, tested positive for COVID-19. They entered Thailand via the Second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge. They have been taken to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital for treatment. Currently, 158 returnees from Myanmar are in local state quarantine, and 26 are in hospitals. Seventeen of the returnees illegally entered the country. The situation remains under control.

A public health officer in Chiang Rai, Dr. Thotsathep Boonthong, said 26 infections were reported in Chiang Rai, most of whom were from local state quarantine. Authorities are able to keep the situation under control. After a school in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district requested a temporary closure between December 7 and 13, because one of its students came into close contact with an infected patient, the physician said the closure is not necessary.

Students and education personnel are advised to wear face masks and follow other precautionary measures. The authorities will clarify the issue with the school management to prevent any misunderstanding.

The Director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, Dr. Chaiyawej Thanapaisarn, said there have been more patients and Thai returnees recently, but the hospital can only accept 60 patients. Mae Fah Luang University Medical Center Hospital in Chiang Rai will serve as a backup facility, as it has some 300 hospital beds.

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