Thailand’s Chiang Rai province detects first potential Omicron case

Photo by Handout / US Food and Drug Administration / AFP

Chiang Rai Governor Pasakorn Boonyalak, accompanied by provincial health chief Dr. Watchapong Kamla, announced the first potential Omicron variant case in the province today (Tuesday).

The governor said that the COVID-19 infected patient, a 36-year old Briton, tested negative by RT-PCR before departing for Thailand and passed a second RT-PCR test upon his arrival at Suvarnabhumi international airport in Bangkok on December 13th.

He spent two nights at a hotel before flying to Chiang Mai to meet three American friends. The four hired a Thai driver to take them to Chiang Rai on December 15th. On the way they stopped at a service station in Wiang Papao district and at the White Temple, before checking in to a hotel. That evening, they had dinner together at a restaurant close to the hotel.

The Briton later developed a sore throat and he bought an antigen test kit at a pharmacy which showed a positive result. He went to a hospital the next morning for a second test, which confirmed the infection and was admitted to Somdej Phra Yupparat Hospital. The following day, he was transferred to another hospital after he developed a high fever.

The governor said that a specimen taken from the patient was sent to the Medical Sciences Department for more tests to confirm if it is of the Omicron variant. His three American friends asked for permission to be quarantined at the US embassy in Bangkok, he added.

Four Thais, who include three hotel employees and a staff member at the pharmacy, have been quarantined. Tests on them have shown negative results so far.

Th director of Kasemrad Sriburin Hospital said that the British patient’s condition has improved and his fever has subsided. He is in good spirits after five days of treatment.

From his previous experience in the treatment many patients with other COVID-19 variants, he said he is not worried about handing Omicron variant patients.


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