Self-quarantine Phichit students after their return from South Korea
A group of students attending high school in Thailand’s northern province of Phichit have been told to stay home for 14 days, after the school’s management discovered that they have just returned from a trip to South Korea.
Mr. Boontham Onchan, director of Phichit Pittayyakhom School, said that they learned of the group’s South Korean trip, from February 15th to 19th, three days after they resumed classes at the school, adding that he immediately ordered all the returnees to stay home and notified provincial health officials, although none of the students have yet shown any flu-like symptoms.
Dr. Pensri Manovachirasan, deputy director of Phichit Provincial Hospital, appealed to the public not to panic, but to keep themselves in good shape and to avoid crowded places.
She said that there has not been a COVID-19 case in the province so far.
In Thailand’s eastern province of Rayong, Dr. Chaisith Thepchartri, director of the provincial hospital, said that one of the 16 Thai nationals, who returned from a recent trip to Japan and was thought to have contracted COVID-19, has been cleared of the disease, but is still hospitalized for observation.
He said the other 15 were told to stay home and to monitor their health, adding that there has not been a single COVID-19 case in the province.
Meanwhile, Dr. Yong Phuworavan, a virologist at the Paediatric Department of Chulalongkorn Hospital, predicted today that Thailand might not be able to avoid a wider COVID-19 outbreak in the next 12 months, similar to those in other countries such as Japan, South Korea and Iran.
Although coronavirus is currently less deadly than SARS and MERS, he said, it can spread quickly, like the influenza outbreak in 2009, which took six months to spread around the world.
“We must accept the fact that an outbreak is unavoidable,” he said, as he suggested strengthened measures to slow down the spread of the disease.