17 new cases spark virus fears

17 new cases spark virus fears

The government yesterday reported 17 new Covid-19 cases among quarantined individuals who recently returned from overseas, sparking concerns over a second wave of local infections.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) yesterday said 15 of the 17 were Thais aged 12 to 72 who arrived in the kingdom from India on Sunday. The other two were Thai males who returned from the United States and Australia.

All 17 tested positive for the disease while being asymptomatic. The returnees were placed under quarantine in Chon Buri province after their arrival.

Assoc Prof Dr Thira Woratanarat, a preventive medicine expert with Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine, yesterday said the figure represents the highest number of infections detected among returnees so far.

Dr Thira warned that the risk of people contracting Covid-19 in the country is increasing and there was no room for complacency in managing the outbreak.

In his opinion, the risk will be even higher by the end of next month, given the number of people coming to Thailand from overseas.

According to his estimate, Thailand will have received about 100,000 people by the last quarter of this year, and at least 500 of them will test positive for Covid-19 with at least 65 people entering unchecked.

Dr Thira urged the government to limit the number of foreigners permitted to travel to the kingdom, saying only those who need to be in the country should be allowed in.

Businesspeople, migrant workers and other foreigners should not be allowed in for the time being, he said, noting travel bubble programmes should be pushed off for at least six months.

In related news, Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (CDC), yesterday said a 47-year-old Japanese man who left Thailand on Aug 8 and later tested positive for Covid-19 in Japan was re-tested for the virus.

Dr Suwannachai said a second test that was carried out revealed the man was never infected.

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