Chiang Mai offers virus patient payouts

Chiang Mai offers virus patient payouts

The Tourism Industry Council of Chiang Mai and seven other groups in the tourist-reliant province on Tuesday vowed to pay 100,000 baht to anyone who contracted Covid-19 while visiting the province.

The move is designed to boost tourists' confidence in local Covid-19 control and prevention measures and comes after a new local infection was confirmed that placed more than 300 people at risk.

This latest case has dealt the province yet another bitter blow just as its tourism industry finally begins to recover from the destructive pandemic.

About 5% of hotel rooms booked in the province have been cancelled since news broke of the latest infection and that is thought to be people scared off by it, said Industry Council president Phanlop Saechiew.

The 100,000 baht compensation offer is aimed at reassuring all visitors about Chiang Mai's Covid-19 measures, he said, adding that in the case of death from the virus, the payout would be one million baht.

December is normally the start of the peak tourism season in Chiang Mai, said Mr Phanlop.

He sought to allay people's fears, saying that more than 95% of those considered at risk of contracting the virus from the latest patient had already been located and tested.

More tourism promotion campaigns will soon follow to boost confidence in Chiang Mai's Covid-19 prevention measures, he said.

The announcement of the compensation promise came on the day that a fourth Covid-19 positive test linked with Chiang Mai's latest infection was confirmed.

Dr Sopon Iamsirithaworn, director of the Division of Communicable Diseases, said the fourth confirmed case was a 25-year-old Thai woman from Phayao who worked at the same entertainment venue in Myanmar as the first three women confirmed to have Covid-19.

The three are a 29-year-old from Chiang Mai, a 26-year-old from Chiang Rai and a 23-year-old from Phayao, who on Nov 24 all illegally sneaked back across the border to Thailand through a natural trail.

Four people have been identified as close contacts of the fourth Covid-19 case and at high risk of contracting the virus, said the doctor, including one woman who indeed has tested positive.

Twenty-three other people, including medical staff, are considered to be only at low risk of contracting Covid-19 from this woman, said Dr Sopon.

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