Since COVID-19 had started to spread worldwide, the Thai border areas kept an eye on how to manage the situation effectively. Sadao is a district in Songkhla Province, located in the south at the border between Malaysia and Thailand. One third of the population are Muslim. There are three border checkpoints in Songkhla province. Sadao – Bukit Kayu Hitam border checkpoint is the most important checkpoint with the highest border trade value. In 2018 there were about in-and-out 500,000 tourists, 450,000 cargo trucks, and 476,000 private cars and buses crossing this border. Thus, Sadao District is a vulnerable place to spread COVID-19 due to its high frequency of people movement and cross-border transportation.
In this field trip, lessons learned about COVID-19 management strategies to three challenging events which occurred at Sadao District will be shared, including 1) how to reduce fear among people in the community and stigma attached to COVID-19, 2) how to prevent and control COVID-19 outbreak at the Sadao Customs Checkpoint and how to manage temporary quarantine facilities, and 3) how to deal with the situation of the infection among the immigration police officers and the detainees at the Songkhla Immigration Detention Center (IDC), leading to the establishment of the field hospital at this center.