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Migrant workers in Thailand told not to leave amid global COVID-19 fears

Sun Mesa / Khmer Times Share:
A photo shows a mass exodus of migrants returning home for Khmer New Year. Khmer Times

The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand has asked its migrant workers and students in the country not to leave for home during the upcoming Khmer New Year as COVID-19 fears mount.

The Embassy said a statement on Monday said: “For the upcoming Khmer New Year, our workers, students and vendors should cooperate with Thai authorities to prevent the COVID-19. If it is not necessary, you should not leave Thailand.”

The embassy said Cambodian migrant workers need to practice good hygiene to protect themselves from the virus infection.

Thailand yesterday confirmed 147 cases of COVID-19 infection.

There are about two million Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand both legal and illegal, according to the Ministry of Labour.

“If our people want to work in Thailand, you need to follow information related to protective measures and consider it thoroughly before deciding to leave,” it said.

Dy Thehoya, program officer at  labour right Central, yesterday supported the embassy’s statement saying the move is to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It is a good idea to alert our people because it [COVID-19] will spread to communities both in Thailand and Cambodia,” he added. “Cambodian migrant workers could lose their jobs if they leave for home because Thai authorities or companies will have them quarantined for 14 days when they go back.”

Mr Thehoya said returning migrant workers should not visit a crowded venue to prevent the spread of the virus.

Long Dimanche, Cambodian ambassador to South Korea, said yesterday the embassy did not ask migrant workers to stay in the country.

He said about ten percent of Cambodian migrant workers usually return home during the Khmer New Year.

“Most of them do not go back home since they need to work because in South Korea we celebrate the New Year,” he added.

About 48,000 migrant workers are working in South Korea, said Mr Dimanche, noting no Cambodian is infected with the virus.

“We are closely monitoring them to make sure they are safe,” he said.


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