Thais test positive after Italy trip lifting local infection tally to 50
published : 8 Mar 2020 at 06:41
newspaper section: News
writer: Apinya Wipatayotin
Two Thai men who returned from Italy have been diagnosed with Covid-19, bringing the total number of local novel coronavirus infections to 50, according to the Public Health Ministry.
Sukhum Karnchanapimai, public health permanent-secretary, said the two new cases are among six members of a group that travelled to Italy, which now has the highest number of coronavirus deaths outside China.
Among the other group members, one of them was diagnosed earlier with Covid-19 as the country's 45th recorded case. The other three remain under surveillance by the Disease Control Department but lab tests have not yet detected coronavirus.
Case 49 developed a fever on March 5 and went to a private hospital before he was transferred to Rajavithi Hospital. Four people in his family tested negative for the virus. Case 50 had a fever and went to the Institute for Urban Disease Control and Prevention and he is being treated at Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital.
"They are all from the same group as our previous patient who is a 42-year old man returning from Italy on March 2. Half of the group has been confirmed for the novel coronavirus 2019 infection," the doctor said.
He also said that a 30-year old Thai worker, who arrived back from South Korea and was found to have a high fever after screening at Suvarnabhumi airport on Thursday, remains under surveillance. Results of two lab tests have not detected a coronavirus infection, he said.
Of the 50 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases, 31 people have recovered and been discharged. One has died and 18 remain in hospital.
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.
The main focus of concern at the moment is the return of illegal Thai workers known as phi noi from South Korea, especially from the hard-hit Daegu area. Reports on social media suggest some of them have not voluntarily quarantined themselves as authorities had suggested.
Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday tried to boost public confidence in the outbreak control, saying the low number of infections in Thailand has proven the efficiency of medical staff.
"What we need is now strong cooperation from the public and all stakeholders working together," he said. "The public is now concerned about phi noi. We have been doing our best."
- public health
- lab tests