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Thailand reports six new cases among returnees

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Disease control officials check returnees at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Tuesday, when the country logged six new COVID-19 cases. Bangkok Post

BANGKOK (Bangkok Post) – The Thai government on Wednesday reported six new cases of novel coronavirus disease among quarantined returnees.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said four new cases were among arrivals from Egypt and one each from Germany and the United States.

Those from Egypt are male students who arrived on July 8 on the same flight that carried 11 earlier confirmed cases. They were quarantined in Chon Buri province and tested positive on Tuesday.

The returnee from Germany is a 57-year-old maid who arrived on July 16 and was quarantined in Bangkok. She tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday while being asymptomatic.

The returnee from the US is a 36-year-old woman worker. She arrived on July 10 and was quarantined in Bangkok. She tested positive on Monday while showing no symptoms.

Of 3,261 accumulated cases, 3,105 have recovered and 98 remained at hospitals. The death toll has stopped at 58.

Dr Taweesilp said global infections now exceeded 15 million and US cases had topped four million.

Meanwhile, the Association of Private School for Non-Formal Education wants visa restrictions relaxed for foreign teachers and students in Thailand, including those who are waiting to enter the country.

The global pandemic of the new coronavirus has severely disrupted the education sector, which is facing a shortage of foreign teachers, Thongchai Pradubchananurat, president of the association, said.

Many teachers with a proper work permit left Thailand and cannot return to work due to the pandemic.

The new school term has already begun, and some classes are missing their foreign teachers who have not been able to return, Thongchai said.

The association requested that foreign teachers and students already in the country be allowed to stay in Thailand legally until the end of this month so their universities can have more time to prepare the paperwork needed to renew or apply for work permits and student visas.

Foreign teachers with expired work permits should be given an additional 30 days by the Immigration Bureau to renew their visa, Thongchai said.

The teachers need a visa extension so they can stay while applying for a new permit, he noted.

Foreigners with tourist visas who intend to teach here should be allowed to stay until they are given Non-Immigration Education visas without having to leave the country first as they normally would be required to do, he said.

Thongchai said prospective foreign students already in Thailand on other types of visas that will soon expire should be given special permission to have their visas upgraded to the Non-Immigration Education visa in Thailand, despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many prospective foreign students who are already in Thailand would sometimes only have 15 days to stay in the country, which means they would have to leave the kingdom and apply for a Non-Immigrant Education visa at a Thai embassy overseas, he said.

However, COVID-19 has made travelling impossible.

The association on Tuesday submitted their request to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha through the government’s complaint centre.

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