'Small risk' of Covid transmission in Rayong

'Small risk' of Covid transmission in Rayong

A health official takes a nasal swab from a person at Passione Shopping Destination (Laemtong) mall in Rayong province on Tuesday. The Disease Control Department said on Wednesday there was only a small chance someone may have caught Covid-19 from the infected Egyptian soldier.(Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A health official takes a nasal swab from a person at Passione Shopping Destination (Laemtong) mall in Rayong province on Tuesday. The Disease Control Department said on Wednesday there was only a small chance someone may have caught Covid-19 from the infected Egyptian soldier.(Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

There is only a slight chance of transmission of coronavirus disease in Rayong province, because only one of the Egyptian visitors who went shopping was infected and he always wore a mask and did not eat at a mall, according to the chief of the Disease Control Department.

Director-general Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai confirmed on Wednesday that only one of the 31 visiting Egyptian soldiers tested positive for Covid-19.

The military delegation was in Rayong from July 8 to 11. Much of their time was spent travelling between the DVaree hotel and U-tapao airport, because they made two round trips from the airport during their stay, Dr Suwannachai said.

"They went out of their hotel and visited malls only on July 10, from late morning until the afternoon," he said.

Of the 31 Egyptians, 27 walked in small groups to nearby Passione Shopping Destination mall. The infected soldier walked in a group of six. Four others went to CentralPlaza Rayong in a taxi. Officials tested all of them for Covid-19 that day, and only one test came back positive, the director-general said.

"The group to CentralPlaza and the small groups, except the one with the infected person, had little or no opportunity to transmit the disease," he said.

The group of six including the infected man stayed at the mall from 11am to 3pm. Surveillance camera recordings showed all of them wore face masks from their hotel, passed health screening and used alcohol gel at the mall, Dr Suwannachai said.

"The infected person was on two floors of the mall. He did not shop or eat there. After leaving the mall, he returned to his hotel and entered his room. This means that the infected person did not contact many people," he said.

The 31 visitors did not leave their hotel at night, the disease control chief said.

Therefore, there were 11 at-risk people: four drivers plying between the hotel and the airport, and seven hotel employees. All of them were tested for Covid-19 and quarantined for 14 days. So far, it was known that three hotel staff tests came back negative, he said.

Dr Suwannachai said that 413 other people faced a low risk of infection because they were in the same mall at the same timeline. They were advised to observe disease control measures and limit their trips out of their homes.

On Tuesday, health officials collected samples from 1,333 people who were in the same places the visitors went to in Rayong, and results were known for 416 samples. None of them were positive, he said.

The Disease Control Department had closed the hotel and the mall for at least three days for disinfection, he said.

"Collected information shows the risk of disease transmission is slight and it is likely that local schools can reopen in seven days," Dr Suwannachai said.


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