PHNOM PENH: The lockdown of eight border provinces neighboring Thailand may not yield the anticipated results immediately.
Phnom Penh based analysts have said that Khmer Times has already highlighted the fact that there could be a humanitarian crisis at the Thai side of the border where Cambodians waiting to cross have gathered or are on the way to congregate in order to cross the various legal and illegal border points.
"The government has been appealing to these people time and again, since March 2020 to stop crossing the border, starting with the Khmer New Year then, again and again but they, the migrant Cambodian workers continued to arrive.
"Now they have arrived, not just with their personal belongings and family, but also carrying with them the harder to treat and detect Delta variant of the coronavirus. The government has got no choice and is between a rock and a hard place," one analyst, Leap Chanthavy said.
He added that the humanitarian gesture of the Thai authorities, conveyed through its Ambassador in Cambodia will now be put to the test.
Furthermore, brokers and runners who go around various provinces and workplaces in Thailand where Cambodian migrant workers and their families live, persuading them or promising them ways and means to cross the border then and now despite the border closure from midnight Thursday, must be rounded up and severely dealt with on both sides of the border.
"These include colluding security forces who are dispatched on both sides of the border to prevent illegal crossings as well as brokering local counterparts as without both of these elements, crossings would be quite impossible.
"These comments will be met with brickbats, but it's a reality," Chanthavy said. Already, anti-government radio stations have blasted Cambodia for the border closure and highlighting the plight of the now stranded Cambodians.
RFA in its report has said, "Many migrant workers infected with the respiratory virus said they want to return to Cambodia because they cannot afford medical treatment in Thailand, but now find themselves locked out of their own country as it deals with a surge in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and related deaths. And having lost their jobs or been ordered into quarantine by Thai officials, they said they now have no income to pay for their daily living expenses." Khmer Times
About 2 million Cambodians out of the country's population of nearly 17 million work in Thailand, according to the Cambodian NGO Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights.
Thailand is the main destination country for Cambodian migrant workers who take relatively low-wage jobs in labor-intensive sectors including agriculture, construction, fishing, livestock, and manufacturing, and in some service sectors.