Covid-19: Thai workers leave for jobs in Israel

International | Written by : IANS| Updated:

Covid-19: Thai workers leave for jobs in Israel

Bangkok, Sep 30 (IANS) Around 200 Thais left to work on farms in Israel on Wednesday on a flight arranged by the Labour Ministry, which declared the Covid-19 situation is "easing".

Thiwalrat Angkinan, adviser to the labour minister, and deputy permanent secretary for labour Thianrat Nawamawat were at Suvarnabhumi airport to see them off, according to the ministry's Facebook page.

Two groups, totalling 214, left for Israel - 131 newly hired workers and temporary resettlement workers in Thailand who had delayed their trip to Israel due to the Covid-19 outbreak since February; and 83 others whose Israeli employers had asked them to return, Thiwalrat said.

Thiwalrat said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had placed emphasis on sending workers abroad. Normally, more than 100,000 Thai workers go overseas to work each year, remitting 100 billion baht back to the country, according to the statement posted on Facebook.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the ministry to suspend the departure of workers to jobs overseas. The Covid-19 situation had now eased to some extent, due to measures taken by the government, she said.

In past years, the Employment Department had sent Thais to work in the agricultural sector in Israel under a state-to state labour cooperation scheme first implemented in 2010, the labour minister's adviser said.

The 214 workers boarded an Air Asia X charter flight, XJ208, which left Suvarnabhumi airport at 12.40pm, and was scheduled to arrive at Ben Gurion airport in Israel at 7.45pm, Bangkokpost reported.

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin sent his best wishes and asked them to abide by laws and culture of Israel and keep away from drugs and alcohol, and pay heed to state measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Ms Thiwalrat said.

Israel ranks 24th globally for Covid-19 infections, while Thailand ranks 137th. Israel currently has the world's highest weekly infection rate per capita.