11 July 2024

Thailand’s Public Health Minister has criticized a 65-year old man for not telling medics that he had recently returned from a high risk country and for exposing 30 medics and his family to COVID-19.

“If he had not been detected fast enough, he could have become a super-spreader, like an elderly woman in South Korea,” said the minister at a news conference today.

The minister also confirmed 3 new COVID-19 cases in Thailand, including the man who contracted the virus during his trip to the northern Japanese city of Hokkaido, his wife and an eight-year old nephew.  The three are now being treated at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi province.

The elderly man went to the B Care Medical Centre suffering with fever and a cough, but he lied about his recent trip when asked.  Further tests confirm he is infected with COVID-19.

Mr. Anutin said that the conduct of the old man is very discouraging, not only for people in general, but especially for the medical staff who have been working very hard.

As for the classmates of the 8-year old boy, all of them have been confined to their homes for 14 days and their parents told to report to doctors if any of them develop flu-like symptoms.

The public health minister said he would prefer health officials to refrain from going abroad and will seek cooperation from tour agencies to stop offering promotional packages to Japan at fire-sale prices of as little as 2,000-3,000 baht, saying it is not worth the risk “as it may be their last trip.”

Regarding political rallies on university campuses, in protest against the dissolution of the Future Forward party, Mr. Anutin said he would like the organizers of such events to health screen the participants and provide face masks and sanitizers at the rally sites.

He assured the public, however, that the spread of COVID-19 in Thailand has not yet reached the Stage 3 outbreak level.

Health permanent secretary Dr. Sukhum Kanchanapimai said that there are altogether 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thailand, but 24 of them have already returned home.