The Thai Government, along with the Ministry of Public Health, has announced that the recent “outbreak” of domestic cases in the North of Thailand, primarily in the Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai areas, was over and the area was perfectly safe according to them.
This follows multiple domestic cases over the past several weeks linked to a cluster primarily traced to groups of young Thai women who worked at what authorities called entertainment venues in the border town of Tachiliek, Myanmar. The women snuck back into Thailand illegally after Tachiliek had an outbreak of Covid-19, forcing the city into a strict lockdown, through porous land borders causing Covid-19 concern and will reportedly face harsh legal charges for these actions. You can read more about that story here:
The Director-General of the Department of Disease Control of Thailand, Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, told reporters that the department tested 4,469 people in seven Northern provinces and found that only two people who were high risk contacts of Covid-19 infected people from Myanmar had contracted Covid-19 locally in the past several weeks. The 4,469 people tested were all contacts, both low and high risk, of Covid-19 positive people who had crossed over the border from Myanmar illegally.
Dr. Opas stressed that through significant contact tracing and renewed border protection between Thailand and Myanmar that the Northern border areas were safe and that the Department of Disease Control felt that the situation was completely under control and there was no evidence of any outbreak of Covid-19 in the area or country from the recent Myanmar cluster.
Myanmar continues to battle widespread infections of Covid-19 in the country despite strict lockdowns and wide ranging business closures and domestic travel restrictions, driven by what experts have said is a struggling health care system, however Thailand has remained relatively clear of the disease due to a much stronger health care system and track and trace capabilities according to the World Health Organization.
The fears of an outbreak, however, caused what Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai business owners have said was a significant rise in cancellations from nervous domestic tourists in the peak of the busy winter domestic tourism period. This weekend’s announcements that the area is clear and safe from the Department of Disease Control is designed to help restore confidence from domestic tourists.