BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health on Thursday warned that allowing migrant workers into the country to fill up labor vacancies after easing lockdown restrictions may lead to a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
“Although we have gone past 60 days free of local COVID-19 transmission and that our situation is a lot better than other countries, the risk is not entirely over,” said Tanarak Plipat, deputy director general of the Ministry’s Disease Control Department.
Thailand on Thursday recorded six new COVID-19 cases, all returnees from abroad and in state quarantine.
Cumulative infections in Thailand to date are 3,304, with 3,111 recoveries and 58 deaths, while 135 others are still being treated in hospitals.
“Several countries have faced the second wave of infections, and we may face the same,” he said. “We have banned inbound travels to curb the spread of the virus. But by allowing in migrant workers, it will pose a huge risk to the health of the Thai people.”
Tanarak also listed three factors that could cause another outbreak, including the remaining local patients, returnees from other countries who pose a low risk, and illegal migrants, who pose the highest risk.
Tanarak said businesses wanting to bring in migrant workers will have to stick to the government’s quarantine measures, noting that he believes that business operators will agree to this as they don’t want to be blamed for causing another outbreak, let alone the risk of being given hefty fines.
“We have strict measures in place, and they should be followed as we don’t want businesses to be closed again. The goal at the moment is to control the disease until there are no more infections,” he said.