Moken Sea Gypsy village locked down after more Covid cases emerge


SOUTHERN PHANG NGA province authorities today (Nov. 23) issued an order locking down a Moken Sea Gypsy village on one of the Surin islands after 15 more coronavirus cases were found there, Siam Rath newspaper said.

As 22 out of a community of 328 Moken Sea gypsy folk living at Bon Bay tested positive for this infection a few days earlier, today Mr. Narong Nooniam, Kuraburi district chief, and Mr. Wittaya Laisakul, Kuraburi public health official, led a team there for a second round of tests.

After 15 more Moken Sea Gypsies tested positive for coronavirus they were all quarantined and tomorrow will be taken ashore on medical emergency boats for treatment.

The Surin islands are located in the northern rim of the Andaman Sea, about 10 kilometres south from the official Thailand-Myanmar border and 60 kilometres west from Thailand’s mainland, according to

The common port of departure is the Kuraburi pier of the Phang Nga province. The Surin islands consist of five islands, Koh Surin Nua, Koh Surin Tai, Koh Ri, Koh Kai and Koh Klang.

The Moken Sea Gypsies used to navigate around the islands and stay in different bays, yet nowadays they are permanently located on Surin Tai, the big southern island.

Meanwhile the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said this morning (Nov. 23) there were 5,126 Covid cases and 53 deaths over the past 24 hours, and this raised the cumulative confirmed total since April 1 to 2,047,272.

Of the new batch of cases 5,022 were among the general public while 104 got infected in prisons and detention centres. 

Even though 7,748 patients were cured over the past day, the 53 fatalities raised the death toll from April 1 to 20,395.


Moken Sea Gypsies undergoing Covid test today. Photos: Siam Rath

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