Few Migrant Workers Return to Mon State From Thailand, Despite Large Expected Exodus

Friday, May 8, 2020

The Mon State government had expected 10,000 people to return from neighboring Thailand in the first days of May and had prepared for large quarantines, but few have crossed the border, health department officials said.

Dr. Tun Aung Kyi, the head of Mon State’s health department, said that they have received only 18 returnees as of May 4.

“We expected many returnees. We received only 18 people. The number is quite unstable,” he told NMG.

As the Thai government starts to lift COVID-19 restrictions in some provinces, they announced on May 6 that border crossings would be allowed from Tak Province to Burma in early June.

The Mon State government had promised to provide room and board for returnees within prepared quarantine facilities starting in May.

“We expected there would be tens of thousands of returnees from Thailand. We planned to place 6,000 people in quarantine centers in Mawlamyine, Paung, Chaungzon, Kyaikmayaw, and Mudon townships, and more than 2,000 returnees in the other remaining townships in Mon State. So we are preparing facility quarantine centers for 8,000 people,” Myint Than Win, the head of the office of the Mon State government, told NMG.

Mon state government placed nearly 1,000 returnees from Thailand in quarantine facilities in a Mawlamyine University dormitory in April.

In addition, the Mon State government also placed some returnees who came through the Phayar Thongsu border gate in quarantine facilities.