Two Thais back from Italy have Covid-19

Two Thais back from Italy have Covid-19

Local cases now total 50, say officials who repeat voluntary quarantine advice to some travellers

Passengers wear face masks as they arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport on March 4. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Passengers wear face masks as they arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport on March 4. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Two Thai men who returned from Italy have been diagnosed with Covid-19, bringing the total number of local novel coronavirus infections to 50.

The two men were among six members of a group that travelled to Italy, which now has the highest number of coronavirus deaths outside China, said Dr Sukhum Karnchanapimai, permanent secretary for the Public Health Ministry.

Among the other group members, one of them was diagnosed earlier with Covid-19, becoming the country’s 45th recorded case. The other three were under surveillance by the Disease Control Department but lab tests have not yet detected coronavirus.

Of the 50 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases, 31 people have recovered and been discharged. One has died and 18 remain in hospital.

The main focus of concern at the moment is the return of illegal Thai workers from South Korea, especially from the hard-hit Daegu area. Reports on social media suggest that some of them have not voluntarily quarantined themselves as authorities had suggested.

A 30-year-old Thai worker who arrived back from South Korea was found to have a high fever after screening at Suvarnabhumi airport on Thursday. Results of two lab tests have not detected a coronavirus infection, said Dr Sukhum.

Another unwell patient is being treated at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute, where lab tests did not detect the virus. However, the patient’s condition remains critical.

Dr Sukhum reiterated the ministry’s advice that people returning from six high-risk countries and territories — China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Iran and Italy — quarantine themselves pending further screening for the virus.

Authorities have been at pains to point out that the quarantines are not mandatory, as had been suggested earlier. But they are strongly recommending that people isolate themselves for 14 days to prevent the spread of Covid-19. They also have to report their health condition daily to officials and could face fines for non-compliance.

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