Thailand has shut its door to travellers from Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan after confirming cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 in the country.
"The Thai embassies in these countries have also stopped issuing certificates of entry for non-Thai nationals from May 10 until further notice," Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanee Sangrat said.
The ban was slapped as health authorities Monday confirmed the country's first cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 in a Thai woman and her 4-year-old son who have been in quarantine after arriving from Pakistan.
The finding comes as Thailand fights against a new wave of the Covid-19 that began in April. Many of the recent cases involve the British variant of the virus – more infectious than the original form found last year.
Thailand banned travellers from India, other than its citizens, starting May 1 in response to the rising tide of Covid-19 cases in the South Asian nation that began in early April. India has reported more than 22.6 million infections, second only to the US, and more than 246,000 deaths. However, the experts believe both figures are undercounts.
Apisamai Srirangsan, a deputy spokesperson for Thailand's Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration said: "The Indian variant was found in a pregnant 42-year-old woman who arrived on April 24 with three sons. She and her 4-year-old were staying in the same room under state quarantine. The two other sons, ages 6 and 8, stayed in another room and tested negative."
"The authorities are also worried about people who cross into Thailand illegally, mostly from neighbouring Cambodia and Myanmar," Apisamai added.
Thailand on Monday announced 1,630 new cases, bringing its confirmed cases to 85,005 since the pandemic began. There were 22 new deaths, for a total of 421.
New clusters continue to be discovered in Bangkok, not only in crowded communities but also at markets and department stores. Other clusters have been found among migrant workers at factories in two provinces near Bangkok, reports AP.