BANGKOK – The Ministry of the Interior has acted on an order from Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, to close border checkpoints by ending special trade posts and restricting permanent border crossings to only one per province.
The Ministry of the Interior has circulated an urgent memorandum to the governors of border provinces concerning the control of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The memo temporarily shuts down special trade posts, and restricts border crossings to only one per province. Crossings are to be properly manned in the interests of screening travelers.
People entering and exiting the nation at the first Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge crossing point in Nong Khai province have significantly dropped in number despite other crossings being suspended from March 20 to April 20. Those using the checkpoint must request a visa from the Laotian embassy in Bangkok or its office in Khon Kaen province as crossing cards will no longer be applicable from March 20, 2020.
Immigration officers have stepped up checks and screenings of border travelers using a thermal scanner in light of the COVID-19 situation.
Meanwhile, Myanmar’s decision to close its natural crossings and ferry piers has left docks along the Moei River on the Thai side noticeably quiet. Officials are nonetheless maintaining screenings at the entry point.
The Governor of Tak, Ansit Samphantharat, has ordered the first Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge to be closed, with only the second to be in operation to undertake screenings. (NNT)