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Since 42 of its international prisoners allegedly caught the coronavirus from an immigration officer, health authorities said Sunday, a detention center is being converted into a field hospital.
Many contaminated are foreigners being detained in Songkhla's Sadao District Immigration Detention Center, which has a total of 115 inmates, Provincial Public Health Chief Uthitsak Harirattakul said.
"All of them are in a safe condition, but for risks of infection, we need to track another group of 73 detainees," Uthitsak said. "The building was placed in lockdown and converted into a hospital in the field to protect them. Even those in critical care will be moved to a hospital.
On April 4, the unidentified officer reportedly entered the detention center. He later tested positive for the coronavirus on April 20, resulting in the checkpoint that he staffed being briefly cut off. Has been put under quarantine with up to 200 immigration officers working with him.
The foreigners detained at the immigration center in Sadao have been convicted of unlawful entry into the Kingdom and other violations of visas.
Governor Jaruwat Kliangklao of Songkhla said that the contaminated inmates would be treated until fully healed before being returned to their respective countries. He also advised members of the public to be patient, because the hospital excludes all new pathogens.
Aside from six additional immigration officers and a policeman who had near contact with the infected officer, so far none of Malaysia's Thai returnees have been affected, Jaruwat added.
No new cases of infection were registered in the southern province on Monday. According to the Department of Disease Control, the cumulative count currently stands at 104.