8,000 Thais Expected to Return Home From Malaysia

A security officer mans an entrance to a quarantine facility in the border province of Yala on April 15, 2020.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — About 8,000 Thai nationals are expected to return home from Malaysia later this month and then be quarantined in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, said a Thai official on Tuesday.

Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) Secretary General Somkiat Pholprayoon confirmed an estimated 8,000 Thai nationals, mostly being hired for jobs in Malaysia, will return to southern Thailand via five border checkpoints in Narathiwat, Yala and Songkhla provinces after they have reopened later this month.

In addition to the land-based border passes, international passenger airliners can land at Hat Yai airport in southern Thailand from the upcoming Saturday, following the currently-imposed ban to help stem the pandemic.

Read: Man Defies Thai-Malaysian Border Lockdown, Swims Across

The SBPAC chief commented many other Thai employees in Malaysia might as well continue to work there if they were provided more assistance from both Thai and Malaysian authorities.

However, Somkiat said they would find it very difficult to go back to Malaysia for jobs if the pandemic situation in the neighboring country considerably improved.

Thailand has continued to provide food and subsistent items for the Thais in Malaysia via the Thai embassy, civil groups and private sector in that country, he said.

He categorically dismissed rumors that as many as 100,000 Thai nationals would return home from the neighboring country anytime soon.