Hospital staff told to enter self-quarantine

Hospital staff told to enter self-quarantine

Dozens ordered after carrier identified

Juthamas Ratanavaraporn, a researcher at Chulalongkorn University's engineering faculty, shows how to operate a mobile positive pressure unit designed for medical personnel to handle Covid-19 patients. The faculty handed over the unit to Police General Hospital on Wednesday. Apichart Jinakul
Juthamas Ratanavaraporn, a researcher at Chulalongkorn University's engineering faculty, shows how to operate a mobile positive pressure unit designed for medical personnel to handle Covid-19 patients. The faculty handed over the unit to Police General Hospital on Wednesday. Apichart Jinakul

Twenty-six medical staff at the Su-ngai Kolok hospital in the southern province of Narathiwat will be placed under 14-day self-quarantine after coming into contact with Covid-19 patients, despite wearing personal protective gear.

"We think our medical staff will not be infected as they properly wore PPE and followed our strict measures," Inn Chandang, director of the hospital told the media on Wednesday. "We need to comply with the 14-day quarantine order."

According to the Centre for the Covid-19 Situation Administration, health workers are categorised as a "patients under investigation" (PUI).

Dr Inn said that was to ensure that the 26 do not affect the hospital's 800 medical workers.

He told the Bangkok Post in a phone interview on Wednesday that the 26 health professionals came in contact with a 45-year-old patient who tested positive for the novel coronavirus last weekend after going to the hospital to receive treatment for pneumonia.

Dr Inn said the patient had travelled to Malaysia to attend a religious event in January, but two prior tests showed negative results, prompting the authorities to suspect he may have contracted the disease locally.

He noted recent testing of the man's family showed no infection was transmitted.

Dr Inn said that after the man's test showed positive, Chatchai Promlert, permanent secretary of Interior Ministry, ordered the lockdown of tambon Waeng in Waeng district of Narathiwat province.

This tambon is considered an at-risk area as many Thais return home through its border checkpoint.

The 45-year-old patient is now at Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Hospital in a stable condition, Dr Inn said.

In other news, Opart Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said 40 people have tested negative for the coronavirus disease after they were analysed for a third time.

The 40 were suspected of being carriers after a laboratory at the Yala provincial hospital tested them all positive -- which was unusual.

Their samples were sent to another laboratory in Songkhla on Monday for a recheck and they all showed negative.

To ensure they were not infected, the third test was carried out by the Public Health Ministry in Bangkok.

The government on Wednesday reported one new coronavirus patient, a Thai masseuse, and one death, of an Australian hotel manager in the South. It also reported one new case, taking the nationwide tally to 2,989.

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