Burmese workers scramble to return home as Thailand closes its borders

Hundreds of workers converge on the border between Thailand and Myanmar this morning (March 23) as they scramble to return home amid a worsening COVID-19 crisis in the country.

The migrant workers had been employed in Thailand, where wages are better than in the neighbouring communist country, but have either lost their jobs due to the recent shut down or chose to return home where the government claims there have been no coronavirus cases.

Footage taken early this morning shows them carrying bags and suitcases as they flee northern Thailand along the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot district in Tak province.

The chaotic scenes came after Tak governor Ansit Sampantharat said on Sunday that all checkpoints along the northern border with Myanmar will be closed to people and vehicles - with an exception for vehicles transporting goods and their crew - from Monday, March 23, until further notice.

Thailand has 721 declared cases of the coronavirus and introduced travel bans and closed all restaurants, shopping mallsand dozens of other types of business on Saturday (March 21), following an earlier ban on bars.