Tak Closes Border As COVID-19 Fears Grow

Tak Border Closed

Tak officials have announced a week-long border closure on the same day COVID-19 tests came back negative for all 26 classmates of a 10-year-old found among the latest batch of three reported cases in the district.

Mae Sot Hospital announced the results of swiftly conducted tests yesterday just hours after the province’s governor signed an order temporarily suspending commercial use of the crossing, in a bid to prevent curtail a spike in cases that have already seen eight positive test results so far this month.

Tak governor Phongrat Phiromrat ordered the border closed for goods transit from 3 pm yesterday until 8.30 am on Sunday, 25th October, as part of disease control measures.

Active testing in the border district of Mae Sot earlier found three Myanmar lorry drivers and five residents near the Madina community to be infected.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who visited Mae Sot yesterday, urged locals not to panic, claiming the positive tests proved disease control measures, including health screening and testing in, were working and catching most infections on entry or very soon after.

He did, however, express concern that illegal crossings could still pose a threat after border patrol authorities yesterday arrested 12 Thai nationals for skirting the checkpoint as they travelled from Myawaddy to Mae Sot.

Officials said they spotted several footprints and the tracks of wheeled suitcases on the banks of Moei River in tambon Mae Pa which led them to find 11 women and one man hiding in the forest.

The group said they had been working in Myanmar, but hired a boat to take them across the river to Mae Sot from Myawaddy due to fears over the outbreak there.

They were tested for the virus before being sent to Mae Sot police station for further questioning.

Authorities are stepping up surveillance along the 542km border with Myanmar after Thailand reported seven new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, including three local transmissions among Myanmar nationals in Mae Sot.

The fourth case was a lorry driver who entered Thailand from Myanmar on Friday while a further two were a Thai who returned from Sweden on 11th October and another who came back from the UK on Monday. The seventh case was a Belgian man who also flew into the country on Monday.