Police to close 600 labour camps in collaboration with Thai army

The Thai government has mobilized the military and police to close down nearly 600 construction workers’ camps in Greater Bangkok to ensure workers do not leave until their camps are closed.

As previously published on your news bearer’s blog, the Thai government has imposed a 30-day closure from today of high-risk places, especially labour camps, in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces and four southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Narathiwat, some of these camps would be closed by now.

About 80,000 workers, most of whom are migrant workers in camps in Greater Bangkok, are to remain in their camps while they are under lockdown.

Thailand’s government has pledged to extend construction contracts and pay 50% of wages to workers trapped in their camps.

The government would also provide food and drinking water for the workers and deploy security forces to prevent the workers from escaping the camps, said government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri.

Still, several parties have expressed concern that workers will leave the camps before the closure and pose a high risk of virus transmission across the country.

Defense Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Kongcheep Tantrawanich said the armed forces and police have mobilized resources to implement the shutdown order issued on Saturday by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Minister Chaichan Changmongkol and Defense Secretary Nat Intaracharoen have convened an urgent meeting with key military and police forces to review the government’s latest efforts to deal with the outbreak.

General Tantrawanich said a large number of covid tests would be conducted during the shutdown and infected workers would be isolated and treated according to regular protocols.

Mobile kitchens would be set up to deliver food and essential supplies to the construction camps and communities that have been shut down, and security officers would also be sent to control the movement of people in the Deep South, where the South has been hit for the first time. Africa-discovered virus strain spreads, tighten.

The armed forces would continue to work closely with the Department of Health to address bed shortages by increasing the number of beds in ICUs in military-run hospitals to help compensate.

Border controls would be further tightened to prevent illegal entry of migrants and the spread of COVID-19 from neighbouring countries, a defence spokesperson told press media.

Labor Minister Suchart Chomklin also spoke out, expressing confidence that workers would not escape from the camps, saying that 50% continued payment of wages should give them an incentive to work in the camps. to stay.

According to Chomklin, there are 575 camps in Bangkok with 80,000 workers, most of whom are migrants.

The closure plan was welcomed by Thai Chamber of Commerce President Sanan Angubolkul, who has expressed support for the closure of construction camps and says it is responding to the COVID-19 situation and the consequences of the suspension of work for a month “probably will be limited”.

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