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Mass Coronavirus Testing Underway in Tak

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Mass Covid-19 testing is underway in Tak Province as health officials try to determine if the coronavirus has leaked over the boarder from hard-hit Myanmar.

The mass-testing effort – unusual in Thailand, which has followed a regimen of targeted testing of high-risk groups – was carried out on 2,600 people in the province bordering Myanmar. Two main official border checkpoints have been closed along with 36 natural border crossings there.

Anek Mung-aomklan, director of Urban Institute for Disease Prevention and Control, said five mobile testing units were dispatched to the border areas in Tak’s Mae Sot District Sept. 8 and 9.

Health workers conducted Covid-19 tests on 1,641 villagers and 994 migrants. The test results will be known within 48 hours. Searching for Covid-19 cases will be done along the borders in both countries.

The next mass testing will be conducted in Songkhla’s Sadao District on Oct 8-9, he added.

After a rise in the confirmed coronavirus cases in Myanmar, Thailand has stepped up disease control measures at the border and medical supplies and protective equipment for patient care activities have been sent to hospitals in the region, said Thanitpol Jayanandana, advisor to the public health minister.

Local authorities and health volunteers remain vigilant to check on outsiders, arriving in the villages.

Tak shares 560 kilometers of border with Myanmar. Two permanent border checkpoints and 36 natural border passes will remain closed until the Covid-19 situation improves.