27 placed on high risk watch after COVID-infected man lies about his movements

A COVID-infected businessman from Myanmar has allegedly given a false statement to health investigators about his movements in Mae Sot district of Thailand’s western border province of Tak, exposing 27 people to the risk of infection.

After having verified that the statement given by the Myanmar untrue, Dr. Natthakarn Chuenchom of Mae Sot Hospital said that the district’s health officials have decided to declare areas actually visited by the infected man to be high risk zones, as a precautionary measure.

She said that the businessman, who engages in the export of used Japanese cars to Myanmar and has a visa for Thailand,claimed that he went to a 7-Eleven convenience store near the Friendship 1 Bridge several times while in Mae Sot district, but a check of the CCTV system at the store could not confirm his story, prompting officials to declare the store safe.

According to the timeline of the man’s movements, from November 16th to December 3rd, as detailed by Mae Sot Hospital, the whereabouts of the infected man, from November 16th to 29th, could not be ascertained.

On November 30th, however, he went to a cargo terminal in the district at about 5.30pm, and on December 1st, a neighbor reported that he went to a clinic to see doctor.  On December 2nd,he drove his car to pick up a friend and they travelled together to a private company to arrange for a passport. He then went out for dinner in the evening.

On December 3rd, he went to a condominium to collect a parcel,then to a cargo delivery service to ship the package and then to the district airport. At about 5pm, he visited Mae Sot district for health screening, ahead of a flight to Singapore, and then returned to the delivery company at 6pm.  The test result the next day showed he was infected. According to Mae Sot district, 13 people who were in contact with the businessman were classified as being at high-risk and 14 others as at low-risk.

Meanwhile, the hospital issued a statement, denying a report on the social media that an 80-year old, under treatment at the hospital since December 4th, had died, adding that he is still in intensive care.

Authorities have also intercepted a boat trying to cross the Moei River into Mae Slot district. The boatman, believed to be a member of a human smuggling gang, escaped but the two Myanmar passengers, aged 15 and 12, were apprehended.

Four Thais, who illegally crossed from Myanmar to escape mandatory quarantine, were also arrested after their car was stopped at a checkpoint.  All were sent to the district hospital for health screening.

Interior Permanent Secretary Chatchai Promplert on Sunday instructed all governors of provinces bordering Myanmar to step up efforts to prevent illegal entry by both Myanmar and Thai people. Local officials and volunteers were also told to look out for strangers in their communities.


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