Key ministries to review virus measures Sunday

Key ministries to review virus measures Sunday

Five cases confirmed, airport screening shifted to Guangzhou flights

A man is scanned for a fever at Don Mueang airport on Saturday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
A man is scanned for a fever at Don Mueang airport on Saturday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will meet with senior officials from three ministries on Sunday to come up with measures to stop the spread of coronavirus from China.

The measures will then be proposed to the cabinet on Tuesday, according to a post on the Prime Minister Operation Center Facebook on Saturday.

Attending the meeting will be officials from the public health, transport and tourism ministries, as well as agencies in charge of containing the spread of the virus that has caused 41 deaths, mostly in China, and sparked worldwide concern.

At Don Mueang airport in Bangkok, immigration police are working closely with officials to screen visitors from China with thermal scanners.

From Jan 3-23, 13,000 visitors were scanned. Among them, 21 showed suspicious symptoms and four were infected — three Chinese and a Thai.

Two of the infected Chinese fully recovered and were allowed to return home on Jan 18. The remaining Thai and Chinese patients are being closely monitored.

The fifth case detected on Friday was a Chinese person staying in a negative pressure chamber at Ratchavithi Hospital in Bangkok, according to the post.

Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said a woman suspected of being infected in Hua Hin was still a patient under investigation (PUI) since she met all three criteria — having a fever, showing respiratory symptoms and coming from Wuhan.

“It has yet to be confirmed whether she is infected. Her lab results, along with other suspicious cases, will be evaluated by a panel of virologists and epidemiologists,” Dr Suwanchai said.

He assured all of them are staying in negative pressure rooms or isolation rooms at medical facilities with zero chance of possible disease spreading.

“Those coming into contact with the four were also tested and cleared,” he added.

He urged the public to wait for confirmation from authorities and assured full disclosure since Thailand is obliged to give the information to the World Health Organization under International Health Regulations.

The doctor also dismissed reports that authorities had stopped airport screening. “We simply switched the focus to direct flights from Guangzhou,” he said.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry has advised tourism business operators  to monitor for symptoms and regularly check the website of the Disease Control Department for guidelines.

A meeting with tourism and hotel operators will also be held to discuss preventive measures on Monday.

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