Govt checks ASQ after woman infected

Govt checks ASQ after woman infected

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha
Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha

The Public Health Ministry is vowing to beef up its Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) standards after a Frenchwoman appeared to have contracted Covid-19 while staying at her hotel in Samut Prakan.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said officials would identify and fix the problems within two weeks.

"We have standards and guidelines in the state quarantine system," said Mr Sathit. "Yet there might be errors at certain stages. We are going to find out and fix them as soon as possible."

The Department of Disease Control requires new arrivals to spend 14 days in a confined room and undertake two Covid-19 tests during the quarantine period. In practice, however, those who test negative from day one are sometimes allowed brief leisure time outside their rooms, a possible loophole that might lead to infection, he added.

The quarantine system is in the spotlight after the 57-year-old Frenchwoman tested positive for the virus despite successfully completing the 14-day quarantine.

She left the ASQ facility at the Siam Mandarina Hotel on Oct 15 and returned to her home on Koh Samui, where she developed a fever on Oct 17. Laboratory tests confirmed her infection three days later.

It is thought she caught the virus when she used the fitness centre at her quarantine hotel.

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