Six citizens in hospital after flying home

Six citizens in hospital after flying home

Group returned from Tokyo yesterday

Twenty-six returnees from Japan go straight to a bus which will take them to a hotel in Bangkok for a 14-day quarantine. A total of 32 arrived from Haneda airport, but six did not pass screening and were sent to hospital. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Twenty-six returnees from Japan go straight to a bus which will take them to a hotel in Bangkok for a 14-day quarantine. A total of 32 arrived from Haneda airport, but six did not pass screening and were sent to hospital. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Six out of 32 Thais who recently returned from Japan on a repatriation flight were sent to hospital after failing a health screening test at Suvarnabhumi airport on Wednesday.

The group was stranded at the Haneda International airport in Tokyo after the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) extended the ban on all commercial flights into the country until April 18.

The Thai embassy in Tokyo chartered a flight for them to return home after some passengers pleaded on social media for help.

But health officials at Suvarnabhumi airport recorded high temperatures in six of the passengers and sent them to hospital.

The rest of the passengers were taken to a hotel in Bangkok for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The government on Tuesday said it will not allow more than 200 people to enter Thailand per day.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said more than 100 Thais are stranded in airports in several countries, with at least 60 in South Korea, 60 in the Netherlands and one each in the United Kingdom and Qatar.

CAAT is still allowing special repatriation flights to enter the country during the ban.

Natcha Lapaaneknan, a passenger who was stranded in Tokyo, previously said on Facebook that she and her peers had booked a flight to Thailand from the US on April 2, but their plane landed in Tokyo on April 3 without prior notice.

They later learned that Thailand had cancelled all incoming flights.

Their flight was then rescheduled to depart on Tuesday but was cancelled again after Thailand extended a restriction on incoming flights until April 18.

Ms Natcha said they did not have a visa to enter Japan and were forced to sleep on seats at Haneda airport.

Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Jeddah on Wednesday advised Thais who reside in Mecca and Medina to delay their plans to return home as Saudi Arabia has indefinitely suspended international flights.

When the Saudi government has decided to lift the suspension, Thais are still required to obtain a "fit-to-fly" health certificate and an approval letter from a Thai embassy, it said.

Upon their arrival, they must also be quarantined for 14 days, the consulate-general said.

Waehumsee Samae, a Thai citizen stuck in Montenegro for 23 days, on Wednesday posted a plea on Facebook asking to be brought home.

Mr Waehumsee said he has been asked to leave his hotel in Montenegro several times and cannot fly back to Thailand due to the commercial flight ban.

He said the Thai embassy in Budapest has been contacted but he is still waiting for help.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Cherdkiat Atthakor on Wednesday said his ministry is working to bring stranded Thais abroad home.

Mr Cherdkiat said stranded citizens should contact Thai embassies or consular offices in respective areas for help.


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