Government Worried About Foreign COVID-19 Carriers

Foreigners in Thailand

The Public Health Ministry on Monday has claimed that foreigners, illegal migrants from neighbouring countries and asymptomatic carriers present the main threats for a second wave of COVID-19 infections in Thailand.

“Despite government efforts to control these 3 factors, there is concern about non-compliance among foreigners.

For illegal migrants, it is hard to seal the entire border so we need to rely on cooperation from employers,” Dr Bancha Kakhong, deputy director-general of the Health Department, told a press briefing.

In terms of asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers, he said people need to adhere to social distancing and strictly comply with preventive measures including wearing face masks and washing hands regularly.

“If they are wearing face masks when an infected and healthy person talks to another, the risk of transmission is just 1.5%,” he said.

During the weekly press briefing on measures to prevent COVID-19 returning to Thailand, Dr Kakhong praised the public’s adherence to health measures but said he could not rule out the possibility that there were still asymptomatic carriers living among the general population.

He said the country and the world still have a long way to go before success can be claimed in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

“Although those who have had the virus might develop some immunity, reports from foreign countries suggest it may be short-lived. Meanwhile, vaccine trials have yet to yield verifiable protection,” he said.

To prevent a new domestic outbreak, he said the government was focusing on three areas, the disease, people and places.

“We are focused on tracing and containing infections as quickly as possible to reduce transmission potential. In terms of the people, we have set a goal that at least 80% of the population must wear masks and comply with social distancing. And we also need all those responsible for public places to cooperate with prevention measures,” he said.

In the middle of June, the government lifted the ban on concerts and then, in mid-August, on sports events. The government has also gradually let some foreigners enter the country albeit under strict conditions including a mandatory 14-day quarantine and COVID-19 tests.