Thai lockdown sparks exodus of 60,000 migrant workers: ministry official

About 60,000 migrant workers living in Thailand have fled the country since authorities shut malls and many businesses at the weekend to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a Thai interior ministry official said on Wednesday.

Thailand’s latest measures have left many without jobs and prompted a mass exodus of a large number of the country’s four or five million migrant workers, mainly from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Thailand has closed its land borders, told people to stay at home, and shuttered most businesses in an effort to suppress the virus. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is set to invoke sweeping emergency powers on Thursday.

A Thai interior ministry official told Reuters about 60,000 migrant workers from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar had returned home as of Tuesday. Thailand has reported 934 cases of the virus, the second highest number reported in Southeast Asia.

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Panarat Thepgumpanat