Thai fisherman swimming home from Malaysia rescued from water

An exhausted Thai fisherman was rescued from the sea this morning as he attempted to swim from Malaysia back to his hometown.

Marine police in Satun province rescued 45-year-old Rattanapon Pan-aun, who had traveled two days – on foot and across a waterway – to cross the closed border and reach his home in Satun province.

Rattanapon had become stranded in the Malaysian state of Perlis when the border was closed last month as part of Kuala Lumpur’s measures to reduce COVID-19 infections, according to marine police inspector Banjerd Manavet. 

Banjerd said Rattanapon walked for two days before he found a canal separating the two nations by about 100 meters. He attempted to swim across, but, exhausted from the trip and lack of food, ended up shouting for help. It was then he was saved by the crew of a nearby fishing boat, who took him to the marine police in Satun. 

A medical examination found Rattanapon’s temperature below 37.5C. He was quarantined in a government facility. 

Rattanapon told officials that there are more Thais stranded in Malaysia looking for help getting home. He faces possible prosecution for evading border controls.

Travel has all but ceased throughout the region. Aviation authorities this morning extended a prohibition on air travel into the kingdom until the end of April.

Thailand on Wednesday reported another 30 cases and two deaths from COVID-19. The country has reported 2,643 infections and 43 fatalities since the outbreak began. Recent data from task force spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin indicate that only about 2,500 tests are being conducted daily.

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