On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced that COVID-19 infections among Thais returning from the Myanmar border town of Tachileik would not cause a second wave of the new coronavirus in Thailand, nor result in another lockdown.
Mr Charnvirakul, who is also public health minister, said that although COVID-19 infections had been found in several northern provinces such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phayao, all had been transmitted from the same source in Myanmar.
As a result, a second virus wave has not occurred, he insisted, and the government did not need to enforce lockdown measures.
Mr Charnvirakul said the ministry had attempted to repatriate more Thais from Myanmar and when arrived back in the country, they were all being taken for COVID-19 testing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also assisting in their return.
Asked if stricter measures would be implemented to prevent the virus from spreading, he said none was necessary if Thais followed precautionary guidelines, such as wearing masks and practising social distancing.
Regarding speculation the government was considering reviving measures to ban major events like concerts, Mr Charnvirakul said no such action had yet been taken but people must still be careful for their own health and everyone else’s.
Meanwhile, Worawit Chaisawat, deputy governor of Chiang Rai, said two more women from Tachileik, both aged 25, were yesterday found to be COVID-19 positive in Mae Sai district near the Thai-Myanmar border.
Mr Chaisawat said the two women had been at the same 1G1-7 hotel in Tachileik as other returnees who sneaked into Thailand via natural border crossings and lived with their friends in Mae Sai before they were found to have COVID-19 symptoms. Mr Chaisawat said there were currently about 400 Thais in Tachileik.
Another woman in Chiang Mai, aged 26, was also found yesterday to have contracted the virus, said Dr Kittiphan Chalom, assistant chief of the Chiang Mai Public Health Office.
Meanwhile, more than 130 people who came into contact with a 25-year-old woman who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Tachilek have tested negative, said health officials. Officials are still locating others who might have been infected by her.