Lesson Learned and the Way Forward in Responding to Cross Border Mobility Challenges at Points of Entry during the COVID-19 Outbreak
Bangkok - On 29 April 2022, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) held a multi-stakeholder meeting “Lesson Learned and the Way Forward in Responding to Cross Border Mobility Challenges at Points of Entry (PoEs) during the COVID-19 Outbreak”. The meeting highlighted the achievements and cooperation between IOM, the Royal Thai Government (RTG), the Government of Australia and the U.S. Government in supporting the RTG’s response to COVID-19 at major PoEs with a key focus on strengthening the readiness of PoE operations ahead of border reopening.
“Thailand’s commitment to a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 utilizing a ‘whole-of-government’ and ‘whole-of-society’ approach has been impressive as the country has united to put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror as an endemic,” said Geraldine Ansart, Chief of Mission at IOM Thailand.
Through this initiative, 364 frontline border officials at ten PoEs were provided with capacity building training on COVID-19 prevention measures, PoE assessments in resuming operations, provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, including the academic study of Thailand's public health measures and policy to propose recommendations.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Ministry of Interior, Thai Immigration Bureau and Customs Department at central and provincial levels were deeply engaged in the assessment of seven separate PoEs along the Thai borders with Cambodia and Myanmar to identify needs and readiness for the border resumption.
“This cooperation aims to strengthen border management during the COVID-19 outbreak through various activities,” said Dr Sopon Iamsirithaworn, Deputy Director-General, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).
At the meeting, a MoPH representative presented the public health responses to COVID-19 among migrants in Thailand. Representatives from the Thai Immigration Bureau explained immigration and border control measures during the pandemic and readiness for re-opening of the land borders and interception of irregular migrants.
“The lessons that we learn today are not just about the reopening and return to normal but also about what we do in the future to make sure that we are ready for the response to any similar situations,” Mr Damien Kilner, Regional Director Mekong Region at the Australian Embassy.
“The work that has been done so far and that will continue in the coming years is important as we move beyond this pandemic and will prepare us to face future challenges be it infectious diseases or other crises,” said Dr Barbara Knust, Asia Field Program Director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This initiative is a part of “Mekong Region: Responding to Cross Border Mobility Challenges at Points of Entry during the COVID-19 Outbreak, Phase II” project funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).