South Korean soldier found with COVID-19 after return from Thailand

Dr. Walairat Chaifoo, director of the Epidemiology Division of the Diseases Control Department.

A South Korean military officer, who participated in the planning of the Cobra Gold military exercise in Thailand’s eastern province of Rayong, was found to be infected with COVID-19 upon his return to South Korea, Dr. Walairat Chaifoo, director of the Epidemiology Division of the Diseases Control Department, told the media today (Wednesday).

The discovery of the infection has prompted Thai health officials to launch an immediate investigation, to try to determine whether he was infected while in Thailand, and to try to track down those who were in close contact with the officer.

The officer in question tested positive on November 9th, after his return to South Korea.  According to the timeline, he arrived in Thailand on October 17th and took a hotel car from the airport to his hotel for quarantine, during which he was cleared of COVID-19 in two tests.

After completing the mandatory quarantine on November 1st, he moved to a hotel in the Sukhumvit area and went to a restaurant for a dinner, while observing social distancing and wearing face mask.  The following day, he travelled in a rented car to a hotel in Ban Chang, Rayong province, to stay with another South Korean soldier.

During the meetings, held at a hotel in Ban Chang district between November 3rd and 6th, the officer attended sessions which also involved 12 Americans, 5 South Korean, 2 Indonesians, 2 Australian, and one each from Singapore, Japan, China and India.  177 Thai military officers attended the meetings.

All the 202 military officers had buffet lunches and dinners together during the meetings.

The South Korean officer in question then travelled in a rented car to Bangkok on November 6th and stopped at the South Korean Embassy, before returning to a hotel in the Sukhumvit area. He left for South Korea on November 8th.

Dr. Walairat assured that all the foreign military officers were subjected to mandatory quarantine for 14 days and they spent most of their time in meeting rooms.

Meanwhile, the CCSA reported three new COVID-19 cases today among arrivals from abroad.

The new infections include one 40-year old Thai woman returning from Turkey, a 58-year old Thai woman returning from Britain and a British woman also arriving from Britain.

Cumulative infections in Thailand, to date, are 3,847 with 3,685 recoveries.  102 others are still being treated in hospitals.



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