Thai diplomats en route to Wuhan

Thai diplomats en route to Wuhan

Authorities hope evacuation flight for Thai nationals can take place 'in a matter of days'

Three officials from the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing, in yellow protective gear, leave for Wuhan on Saturday morning to help evacuate Thais stranded in the coronavirus-hit city. (Photo taken from @MFAThai Twitter account)
Three officials from the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing, in yellow protective gear, leave for Wuhan on Saturday morning to help evacuate Thais stranded in the coronavirus-hit city. (Photo taken from @MFAThai Twitter account)

Three diplomats from the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing are en route to coronavirus-hit Wuhan to prepare for the evacuation of Thais stranded in the locked-down city.

Two first secretaries, Nirat Kachanarajit and Methas Chaiphut, and second secretary Akkhanit Khamket left Beijing by car on Saturday morning, said government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat.

The 1,200-kilometre trip is expected to take 14-15 hours, which would put the officials in Wuhan late Saturday evening.

The diplomats will perform their duties until their mission is completed. After that they will be confined for 14 days to have their symptoms monitored, said Ms Narumon.

“We have an increase from 161 to 182 Thais in the area who have registered with us and we are verifying their documents,” she told Reuters.

“The evacuation will be in a matter of days, likely after Feb 2.”

Authorities were planning to send a chartered plane to the Chinese city on Saturday morning, with medical personnel onboard and other facilities for monitoring the passengers’ health.

However, the flight has now been postponed until Tuesday, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Saturday.

Dr Thanarak Plipat, deputy director the Department of Disease Control, said on Saturday that 19 cases of novel coronavirus infection had been detected so far in Thailand. 

Seven of the patients have been treated, discharged and sent back to China. The other 12 remain in hospital. 

Since the outbreak of the virus, a total of 344 people had been under observation. Of the total, 39 were found to have suspicious symptoms through airport screenings and 305 others sought medical treatment voluntarily. Of the latter, 70 were allowed to return home. Most were found to have been suffering from seasonal influenza, said Dr Thanarak.

A total of 274 people are still being monitored at hospitals, he added.

On Friday, the Public Health Ministry confirmed the country’s first case of person-to-person transmission of the Wuhan virus.

Health officials found a local taxi driver who was infected had never travelled to China. He was in contact with 13 people, including his family members. All tested negative for the virus but were still under surveillance for 14 days.


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