Thailand closes travel from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal in attempt to stymie ‘Indian variant’

Photo: Suvarnabhumi Airport
Photo: Suvarnabhumi Airport

After Thai health officials confirmed discovery of a “double mutant” coronavirus strain first identified in India, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs moved yesterday to suspend entry from three more nations – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. 

For now, the ministry has stopped issuing necessary travel documents to travelers – citizens or foreign residents – coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Tanee Sangrat, ministry spokesperson, said the suspension is temporary. He said that Thai nationals, permanent residents of Thailand, diplomats and their families can still travel home from these countries. 

The ban was prompted after health officials on Monday afternoon announced that a pregnant woman who had returned from Pakistan was infected with one of three twice-mutated varieties which first emerged in India in October.

The WHO officially labeled them health concerns due to the possibility that existing vaccines may not be effective against the strains.

Fear of its spread led Thai officials to shut down air travel from India late last month and launch a crackdown this past weekend on its porous borders.

Attempting to hermetically seal the nation may be futile. The variant has already reached more than a dozen nations including Singapore, where it fueled a recent outbreak at a major hospital.

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