Coronavirus Lockdown In Thailand Causes Exodus Of 60,000 Migrant Workers

Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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About 60,000 migrant workers living in Thailand have fled the country after authorities closed malls and many businesses over the weekend in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The migrant workers come from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar and had returned home as of Tuesday, a Thai interior ministry official told Reuters. Thailand has closed its land borders and told people to stay at home. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha is set to enforce emergency powers on Thursday. (RELATED: ‘We Have A Deal’: McConnell Speaks After $2 Trillion Emergency Relief Package For Coronavirus Has Been Reached)

Officials check the temperature of an infant as thousands of migrant workers try to leave the Thai capital for their home provinces amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok on March 23, 2020. - (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

There were an estimated 3.9 million documented and undocumented migrant workers in Thailand in 2019, and migration has intensified compared to years prior, according to a United Nations report. Since 2014, policy has shifted towards a more restrictive migration governance approach and security concerns took precedence over labor market needs, the UN report explains.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Thailand have inched toward 1,000 in March from the low 40s at the beginning of the month, Bloomberg reported, and the death toll is at 4.