The Department of Disease Control is urging pharmacies nationwide, particularly in provinces along the Myanmar border, to keep an eye out for migrant workers who buy suspiciously large amounts of pain and fever medications as a part of its effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
In light of the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in Myanmar, Sopon Iamsirithaworn, the director of DDC’s Bureau of General Communicable Diseases, said pharmacies across the country have been asked to alert local health officials if they see foreign migrant workers with flu-like symptoms purchasing large quantities of fever medications.
Reporting the migrants, even if they cross back across the border, might help track down sources of the virus, observers said.
Dr Iamsirithaworn said COVID-19 infections in Myanmar have continued to climb rapidly with 880 new cases confirmed on Saturday, bringing the total to 9,991. Its government has imposed stay-at-home orders in 11 states to rein in the contagion.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Monday as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to approve a plan for a special tourist visa for long-term visitors, which is aimed to bolster the economy, especially the sagging tourism sector.
While the plan is welcomed by many in the tourism industry, authorities in Kanchanaburi are concerned about the possibility of the virus re-entering the country through its border with Myanmar, which is now known as one of the hardest-hit by the virus in Southeast Asia.
Because of the worsening situation, the province has closed the border checkpoint at the Three Pagodas Pass, its main land link to Myanmar, until 5th October 2020.
According to AFP reports, Myanmar authorities are building quarantine facilities in Yangon, as it scrambles to contain the outbreak in the country’s largest city and commercial hub.
Last month, there were fewer than 400 confirmed cases and six deaths from the disease in the entire country.
However, the number of cases has more than doubled in the past few weeks, with officials expecting infections to pass 10,000 in the coming days.