Government defends isolating migrant worker population, evacuating Thais

Thailand’s government on Sunday defended its decision to isolate and quarantine the migrant worker population after 516 workers tested positive for coronavirus in Samut Sakhon Province.

The workers were employed in the fisheries industry and were living in a crowded area when the breakout occurred.

The government said that they would isolate the dormitories where the migrant workers were leaving but would provide healthcare and other necessities. The government said Thais living in the dormitories would be evacuated and moved to local hospitals.

“Migrant workers are an important part in driving our economy, so we will take care of them,” said Government Spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin.

“This is not about placing blame but isolating the cases,” he said before adding, “in terms of human rights, Thailand has experience [upholding that].”

Taweesin cited Singapore as an example of how to isolate and quarantine a foreign work force. Singapore saw a mass break out in foreign workers dormitory with workers living in close proximity to one another. The city-state managed to isolate and quarantine the work force but faced some criticisms from rights groups.

Thailand’s Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said on Saturday that the new cluster likely came from migrant workers illegally entering from across the border to work in the fishing industry.

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