Thailand Coronavirus Updates: Thailand To Start Monitoring and ‘Tracking’ All Foreigners Visiting or Residing In the Country By New App
Updates: It was announced that the Department of Disease Control (DDC) plans to impose compulsory measures for all foreign inbound arrivals, including notifying personal information and contact information such as mobile phone numbers and email addresses as part of steps to control the Covid-19 outbreak.
Apparently the measures will commence on Thursday and all personal information for inbound tourists will be kept in the system for 14 days after their arrival.
It was not mentioned if the same would be adopted for all Thais returning back to the country or also staying in the country considering that there are reports speculating that there are more than 150,000 Thai illegal workers and Thai prostitutes in South Korea who are in the midst of returning back, mostly from the hard hit province of Daegu. Furthermore there are also tons more of Thai workers both legal and illegal and also many Thai prostitutes returning back from many other countries as the global coronavirus spreads and worsens.
Apparently the information can be provided through immigration form TM8 or an application developed by the National Science and Technology Development Agency that can be downloaded from Thursday. It was said that foreign tourists can continue using their mobile SIM card for phone packages with roaming service, or buy a new SIM card at 49 baht with unlimited internet.
It was said that the latest move came yesterday after an urgent meeting at the office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) that included the NBTC secretary-general, the digital economy and society (DES) minister and representatives from the Immigration Police and the DDC.
Digital Economy Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, who has been extremely proactive in encouraging startups in this current environment and helping out in so many constructive ways to assist the economic development of the country, said that the government will ask for cooperation from all inbound tourists to provide personal data and contact details on immigration forms or via the downloaded application.
Also, all immigration officers will check the completeness of the personal data provided on the forms or the app before allowing travellers to pass the immigration counter.
At the moment, it was reported that daily inbound arrivals average 70,000, comprising 20,000 Thais and 50,000 foreigners.
Any inbound tourists who refuse to fill in the personal information or give incomplete details will be prohibited from passing through immigration points, according to Section 12(7) of the immigration law.
Those who supply fake or incorrect details will be prosecuted.
It is said that the new app can be used to alert the DDC when quarantined people are not in their places or informed addresses, sending warnings to other people who might stay nearby. (Similar apps were developed in South Korea but later abandoned due to public outcry.)
The media reported that the measure is also supported by Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, chief executive of Tarad.com, a local e-marketplace. (all foreigners and foreign entities should kindly note)
He added, "The tracking history of the target's location can
help officers pinpoint who is at risk of being infected if they are nearby those targets."
He did not comment as to why only foreigners were targeted and not Thais as well.
He continued that the next step is to send SMS alerts to the phones of those who stay near risky individuals. Warnings, for example, can be sent to people travelling by electric train service when risky people enter the system.
Typical Thai Xenophobic Response
By only targeting foreigners and not also including Thais, many embassies, consulates and also foreign companies and foreign resident felt upset and said that it was looking slightly xenophobic.
Many also said that and it was interesting to note that NSTDA that is trying to promote partnerships with many foreign entities was also involved in this.
It would have been better if a more cross border platform was involved including Thais, many would then understand that it was truly a preventive measure for all especially in this current global coronavirus pandemic.
A few tourists commented that though they understand the need for the app, but they felt uncomfortable with the intrusion of their privacy.
For more on Thailand coronavirus
updates, kindly log on to: https://www.thailandmedical.news/articles/coronavirus