In just a single morning on August 13, up to 600 Cambodian migrant workers returned from Thailand through three border checkpoints in Banteay Meanchey province, with more than 30 of them testing positive for Covid-19.
The influx followed the government's decision to reopen borders with Thailand after a 14-day closure to stem Covid-19, especially its Delta variant.
Sek Sokhom, director of the provincial health department, told The Post on August 13 that the 600 workers had returned through O'Bei Choan, Boeung Trakuon and Malai checkpoints.
“We reopened the borders on the night of August 12. As soon as we opened them, the more than 600 people flocked in ... We conducted rapid tests and found more than 30 of them positive for Covid-19. We provided them with food too,” he said.
Sokhom expected that a lot more people will return as Delta is spreading in Thailand. He noted that before the border closure, between 100 and 300 workers returned each day.
He said although migrant workers could return en masse, Banteay Meanchey province was prepare to receive them as 20 quarantine centres have already been set up. Besides, 15 facilities are ready to treat mild Covid-19 patients while those in critical conditions would be transferred to the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Hospital Mongkul Borey district.
He said more than 200 military trucks have been prepared to transport workers to different quarantine centres in and outsides of the provinces.