Veeranan Pengchan said the 280 Thais were initially denied entry to Thailand after failing to follow procedures set by Thai authorities when they arrived at the Thai-Malaysian border checkpoint on Saturday but authorities had solved the problem by asking the Thai embassy in Malaysia to issue them with health certificates. (See story here).
Mr Veeranan said the Thais, both Buddhists and Muslims, had been either tourists or working in Malaysian restaurants and the fishing industry. They had flocked to Wang Kelian checkpoint in Malaysia on Saturday because they heard that Thailand was closing the Thai-Malaysian border.
“These Thais have had their temperatures checked and they do not have fever. They have to quarantine themselves for 14 days at home under the supervision of local authorities in each province,”’ he said.
The decision to allow them to return to Thailand was made after a meeting between Thai and Malaysian authorities at the Wang Prachan checkpoint on the Thai side of the border, opposite the Wang Kelian immigration checkpoint in Malaysia’s Perlis State.
Thailand and Malaysia have closed checkpoints along the common border to all but their own citizens to stem the COVID-19 spread.
After the border was closed to foreigners, the Satun governor issued an order to allow Thai nationals with certain documentation to return to Thailand via Wang Prachan immigration checkpoint in Satun.
To be eligible, Thai nationals are required to contact the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur or a Thai consulate in Malaysia to get a letter of certification.
The embassy or consulate must then notify the immigration checkpoint in Satun of their intention to return to the kingdom. The Thais are also required to show a health certificate issued no more than 72 hours previously.