Concerns increase as thousands of Thai workers in South Korea begin to return to Thailand


As the situation with the novel Coronavirus in South Korea worsens thousands of Thai workers who work in various industries in the country are starting to try to return home out of fear of the worsening situation.

South Korea has given amnesty to any Thai Citizens who are on overstay as well legally, which has caused many Thai’s who have been working illegally to contemplate leaving the country and head home. They have stated that there will be no fines or blacklisting of illegal workers leaving the country.

However, the chance that some of the Thai National’s returning home has the novel Coronavirus is high and has alarmed many people on social media. Additionally, some allege that many Thai women work in the adult escort and massage industry in South Korea and may have been exposed to Korean nationals who are positive for the virus.

Thailand, in response, has said that since South Korea is not under an enforced lockdown like China was they cannot legally force their own citizens into mandatory quarantine.

Illegal workers returning home from South Korea to escape the Covid-19 epidemic are being put into voluntary self-quarantine because there is no law requiring they be quarantined, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Tuesday.

This statement further angered many people on social media, some of who asked for emergency powers to be used.

However, On Monday, Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said the Public Health Ministry was considering whether to apply the same measures as applied to the Wuhan cases. He stated that they were looking for ways to do this legally.

When 137 Thais returned to Thailand from Wuhan early last month, they were all quarantined for 14 days. One tested positive and recovered from the virus.

There are roughly 20,000 Thais working legally in South Korea, and at least 140,000 illegal workers.

The Public Health Ministry said on Tuesday health volunteers across the country will be employed to monitor the health of Thais returning from South Korea and will be assigned to check on the self quarantine status of those individuals.

Source: Bangkok Post, with additional material and photos from The Pattaya News

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Adam Judd
Mr. Adam Judd is the Co-owner of TPN Media since December 2017. He is originally from Washington D.C., America, but has also lived in Dallas, Sarasota, and Portsmouth. His background is in retail sales, HR, and operations management, and has written about news and Thailand for many years. He has lived in Pattaya for over nine years as a full-time resident, is well known locally and been visiting the country as a regular visitor for over a decade. His full contact information, including office contact information, can be found on our Contact Us page below. Stories please e-mail About Us: Contact Us: