Concerns have been specifically raised over how three Thai* women in Chiang Rai had managed to re-enter the country without being tested.
V/Gov Phichet told the meeting of the Phuket Provincial Communicable Disease Committee at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday (Nov 30) that the central government had ordered all border provinces to set up teams to screen arrivals.
“Phuket has about 59,000 migrant workers, especially Myanmar nationals, which comprise about 80% of all the migrant workers in the province,” he said.
“Therefore all Myanmar workers must be scanned and quarantined at the border province checkpoint before coming to Phuket,” V/Gov Phichet said.
“I want local officials to intensively keep eyes on Myanmar workers in Phuket and search for illegal workers,” he added.
“Officers at the Phuket Check Point in Tha Chatchai, where all road traffic enters the province, must increase the intensiveness of their checks at the checkpoint in order to protect the island from illegal migrant workers who have not been quarantined,” V/Gov Pichet said.
“Officers from the Phuket Public Health Office must coordinate with other relevant officers to check workers in entertainment venues and other workplaces,” he added.
“If anyone sees workers acting suspiciously, please inform local police or immigration officers so they can investigate,” V/Gov Phichet said.
“Local people also can report [suspicious migrant workers] via the Damrongtham Centre [Ombudsman’s Office] 24-hour hotline 1567,” he added.
The order to start heavily screening migrant workers arriving on the island comes nearly three months after similar measures were ordered in Phang Nga, north of Phuket, through which all arrivals to Phuket must pass through in order to reach the island.
Phang Nga Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada on Sept 4 ordered a required 14-day home quarantine for those arriving in, or returning to, the southern province from areas considered COVID-19 outbreak zones, including Myanmar and other provinces in Thailand.
The stay-at-home requirement could be waived if people could show proof of having quarantined at a state or local quarantine facility before arriving in the province.
Mr Chamroen, who has previously served as Governor of Phuket, said many people had taken health safety measures for granted and in doing so reduced public awareness about the still-present threat of COVID-19 infections.
Apart from the home quarantine, people in Phang Nga must wear a face mask at all times in public places, never engage in any activity that may heighten the risk of spreading the virus and strictly follow COVID-19 prevention regulations when attending mass gatherings.
Punishments would be meted out against anyone who violates the health measures, Gov Chamroen said.
Governor Chamroen also ordered officials in all districts in the province to be on alert for any illegal migrant workers being smuggled into their areas. The employers involved and leading officials in the areas where any illegal migrant workers, who in Phang Nga are mostly from Myanmar, are found would be held responsible, he said.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub
* Correction: Not Myanmar women as initially reported. The error is regretted.