ALTHOUGH governors of provinces bordering Myanmar have been told to step up control of natural crossings to prevent Myanmar job-seekers from slipping through, with the neighbouring country now hit by a second wave of Covid-19 outbreak, many of them continue trying to illegally get across, Sanook.com reported today (Sept. 6, 2020).
The well-known Mor Lab Panda Facebook page, run by medical technologist Parkpoom Dejhutsadin, released a video clip of ten Myanmar migrant workers hiding in the forest with their belongings.
“Neighbours are secretly crossing the border into Thailand and as if that was not enough, they posted a video clip on Tiktok showing them doing so, and people encouraged them through their comments, such as ‘keep fighting,’ ‘please get across safely,’ and ‘quickly put on a mask’,” he said.
The release of Mor Lab Panda’s video clip triggered a lot of concern in the Thai online world because these illegal aliens could be infected with coronavirus, and if they get through it would be very difficult to control the contagion because there is no way to detect those who are infected. They could easily spread the virus to various places they go to apply for jobs and also trigger a second wave of infection in Thailand.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies Myanmar had maintained some of the region’s lowest Covid-19 case counts until August. But the case count has nearly tripled in a month, largely due to an outbreak in Rakhine state.
The situation there continues to worsen as fears mount that the virus could spread unchecked through the vulnerable Rohingya community. The country’s underdeveloped health care system may leave Myanmar unprepared to cope with the pandemic should the current wave of infections escalate. Additionally, some conflict-affected parts of Myanmar may be unaware of the pandemic due to the ongoing targeted internet ban.
Top: Screen grab images of illegal Myanmar migrant workers hiding in the jungle. Thai headline says, “Posted clip of freely crossing into Thailand, comments encourage them, hope they get through, even though Covid-19 is raging.” Photo: Sanook.com