Thursday, February 20, 2020

Thai evacuation plans on hold as ‘China confident it can control the situation’

Jan 28. 2020
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By The Nation

The plan to evacuate Thais stranded in China's Wuhan city are on hold after discussions with Chinese officials, Tana Weskosith, deputy permanent secretary, said. The Rapid Response Centre (RRC) has been working on an evacuation plan amid the coronavirus epidemic situation in China.

After the members exchanged data and plans to assist Thais in the risk areas of China, the Thai and Chinese governments discussed closely the care of Thai people in China, Tana said. 

China is confident that it can look after Thai people and confirmed that they could control the epidemic situation, he added.

“China has absolute restrictions on entry and exit from Wuhan and does not allow anyone to travel in and out in order to strictly control the spread of the coronavirus. Thailand has to strictly comply with such a measure. Therefore, we cannot fly the C-130 plane to pick up our people, but, what we have to do is to rehearse the guidelines and prepare measures to be ready if and when the evacuation plan is allowed by China,” Tana said.

He added that the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing has advised all Thais to avoid risky crowded areas and to immediately contact authorities if they suspect infection with the virus. Nine other Thai embassies have published the same advice.

There are 64 Thais in Wuhan city, including 49 students, while in other cities of Hubei province there are 18 Thais.

However, embassy officers have not been able to reach Wuhan city. The officers are trying to send food, medicine and masks to all Thais but it has to be verified by Chinese officers.

Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs, Chatri Archjananun, said that all Thais in Wuhan city now are in contact with embassy officers via the WeChat application. They have also invited a doctor from the Thai Public Health Ministry to give advice over the chat application.

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