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Migrants heading home as Thailand detects Omicron

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Cambodian migrant workers return from Thailand through the O’Smach border checkpoint in Oddar Meanchey province on December 8. FACEBOOK

Migrants heading home as Thailand detects Omicron

Provincial authorities working at the Cambodian-Thai border said the number of migrant workers returning from the neighbouring country is now increasing following reports of the Omicron variant having been detected there.

In Oddar Meanchey province, deputy governor Dy Rado told The Post on December 9 that the number of workers returning through the O’Smach border checkpoint has jumped from an average of 150 per week up to 200 due to fear of the Omicron variant’s potential to disrupt employment there.

He said the provincial administration requires the returning migrants to undergo a health check-up and if they do not have a Covid-19 vaccination card they are put into quarantine for two weeks.

Oddar Meanchey currently has 451 migrants in quarantine and 87 Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

In Battambang province, deputy governor Soeum Bunrith said 252 migrant workers returned from Thailand through the border checkpoint on December 8. In November, they were only averaging about 50 to 60 per day.

“We conduct Covid-19 testing on every migrant worker. For those who haven’t been vaccinated with two doses, we require they go into quarantine for 14 days,” he said.

Cambodian workers can only work in Thailand legally if they have a permit from Cambodia’s Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and the Thai Ministry of Labour. Most of those permits are issued to agricultural workers. It remains common practice, however, for large numbers of Cambodians to cross into Thailand and find employment there illegally, often in the construction industry.

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