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18 Mar 2020 | 06:45 AM UTC

Thailand: Government announces closure of some border crossings March 18 /update 12

Authorities shut some border crossings with Malaysia, and Bangkok closes bars, cinemas, gyms, spas, sport stadiums, and schools effective March 18

entry/exit
health
transportation
THA

Event

On Wednesday, March 18, Thai authorities shut all 13 temporary land border crossings between Thailand and Malaysia in response to Malaysia's border lockdown in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Thailand opens and closes temporary land borders with Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia relatively frequently to manage surges and falls in cross-border trade and militant activity in border regions. Land crossings are now only possible at three permanent checkpoints: Sungai Kolok, Buke Ta, and Tak Bai.

On Tuesday, March 17, authorities announced that public venues in Bangkok, including bars, cinemas, gyms, spas, sports stadiums, including popular kickboxing stadiums, and schools would close effective Wednesday in efforts to delay the spread of COVID-19.

As of Wednesday, March 18, there are 177 confirmed cases reported nationwide, with one associated death and 41 recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.