Thailand Screens Travelers for COVID-19 at Borders


  • U.S. CDC’s Thailand office (CDC Thailand) worked with Thailand Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), and other partners to established a COVID-19 testing program for arriving travelers. This collaboration included surveillance for COVID-19 among patients in hospitals along Thailand’s borders and strengthening laboratory capacity.
  • Public health workers educated migrant workers and people in refugee camps on COVID-19 prevention and vaccines.

Photo of sun setting in Thailand near the Laos border

Thailand attracts tens of millions of tourists every year with its beautiful scenery and cultural attractions. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has collaborated with the Thailand Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and other partners to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in mobile populations and on borders. In this photo, the sun sets on the Mekong River, along the Thailand and Laos border. Photo credit: Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, CDC Thailand

Photo of international gates at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand

In April 2020, Thailand closed its borders to most international travelers. Thailand (MOPH) established an active COVID-19 testing program for arriving travelers until May 2022 after months of border closures that prevented most international visitors from entering. U.S. CDC’s Thailand office, or CDC Thailand, supported training sessions for staff working at international points of entry. This helped them become familiar with the new national entry screening and testing requirements and learn how to be safer while working in Thailand. Photo credit: JT Square

Photo of CDC Training for border health officers in Thailand

Throughout the pandemic, CDC Thailand has worked with local and national health departments to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats at international borders. This work involves supporting training for government officials working at international points of entry on how to wear personal protective equipment, including how to safely remove contaminated gloves. Ongoing training and engagement have proven critical to a well-functioning response and reopening of the country. Photo credit: Thailand Ministry of Public Health

Photo of public health worker performing nasal swab to test for COVID-19 as part of surveillance activities along Thailand’

CDC Thailand collaborates with MOPH and local authorities to conduct surveillance for COVID-19 among patients with a fever in hospitals along Thailand's borders. This work has helped strengthen COVID-19 laboratory capacity in border provinces; enhanced epidemiological surveillance for COVID-19; allowed MOPH and healthcare professionals to monitor COVID-19 trends over time in Thai and non-Thai patients; and enhanced patients’ COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Photo credit: JT Square

Photo of public health field staff receiving surveillance training at Nakhon Phanom Hospital in Thailand

Researchers from CDC Thailand provided guidance to field staff during COVID-19 surveillance activities at a participating hospital along the Thailand-Laos border. Field staff receive training on standard operating procedures, patient screening and enrollment, data collection, data management, specimen collection, laboratory testing, and good clinical and laboratory practices. Photo credit: Apisit Klomgonluechar

Photo of public health worker conducting a COVID-19 surveillance project at Mae Sot Hospital

COVID-19 surveillance data are routinely shared with local and national partners. This information helps guide decision-making and informs the development of effective strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. CDC Thailand and Thai partners plan to collaborate to monitor patients for long-term consequences of COVID-19 infection. Photo credit: JT Square

Photo of migrant workers at fisheries in Phuket

Migrant workers at a fishery in Phuket process the daily catch of seafood. About three to five million migrants come to Thailand for jobs in construction, fisheries, agriculture, manufacturing, and other sectors. Migrants are at higher risk for COVID-19 due to crowded work and housing conditions. CDC Thailand supported a project with Thailand MOPH to create a migrant health volunteer network and registry in Phuket. In addition, CDC Thailand supported a survey among migrant workers to better understand COVID-19 perceptions, including how to prevent illness, preferred information sources, and vaccination. Photo credit: Division of Global Migration and Quarantine

Photo of public health worker educating migrants in Thailand about COVID-19 risks at work

Two migrant workers in Bangkok participate in a training session about COVID-19 risks and prevention. CDC Thailand supported the Thailand MOPH’s Institute for Urban Disease Control to train migrant health volunteers and assess their needs. This work was done in cooperation with factories in Bangkok in the form of public-private partnerships. Photo credit: Institute For Urban Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Disease Control, Thailand Ministry of Public Health

Photo of medics working in a refugee camp preparing to test people for COVID-19

Medics working in a refugee camp on the Thailand-Burma (Myanmar) border prepare to perform COVID-19 tests. CDC Thailand supported the development of surveillance and testing at the border. Over the course of two years, health workers have collected more than 20,000 specimens for testing, identifying 20 COVID-19 outbreaks. Early detection helps stop outbreaks quickly and saves lives. Photo credit: Division of Global Migration and Quarantine

Photo of COVID-19 vaccination in a refugee camp in Mae Sot, Thailand

In 2022, a young man receives a COVID-19 vaccine at refugee camp clinic on the Thailand-Burma (Myanmar) border. To promote vaccination in migrants and refugees, CDC Thailand works with the International Organization for Migration, the International Rescue Committee, Malteser International, and the Thai Red Cross Society. CDC Thailand and its partners have developed educational materials, worked to build confidence in vaccination through community engagement, held vaccination clinics, and issued vaccination records to those who have received COVID-19 vaccine doses. The proportion of refugees in several camps who have received at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses has exceeded the national goal of 70%. CDC Thailand and its partners are continuing their efforts to increase the rate so that all camps reach this goal. Photo credit: International Rescue Committee (IRC), Mae Sot