Quarantine alone 'not enough'

Quarantine alone 'not enough'

Disease control officials guide arrivals at Suvarnabhumi airport to a quarantine process last month. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Disease control officials guide arrivals at Suvarnabhumi airport to a quarantine process last month. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

A top Ministry of Public Health official on Monday urged the public to maintain all health and safety practices adopted at the height of the domestic Covid-19 infection period, warning that quarantine alone will not keep the country safe.

Dr Sophon Iamsirithavorn, director of the ministry's Communicable Diseases Division, told media on Monday that infected people will still cross the border no matter how stringent isolation measures for arrivals are.

"The most recent Covid-19 cases in Thailand were among returnees who appear to have been asymptomatic for long periods of time, possibly even the duration of their quarantine," said Dr Sophon.

The department has raised its alert level after two particular cases -- the first a French woman who tested positive a week after leaving her assigned quarantine facility and the second an Indian restaurateur living in Krabi who returned in February.

Dr Sophon said that as restrictions are eased to stimulate the economy, especially for those coming from countries considered low risk, the Communicable Diseases Division is committed to reminding people to remain vigilant as the pandemic is far from over in much of the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, Dr Supakij Sirilak, acting chief of the Department of Medical Sciences, said the test result for the wife of the Indian restaurateur will be known today as efforts continue to trace any potential lines of infection in Krabi, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Sukhothai, all of which the man had visited recently.

Authorities in Sukhothai on Monday revealed the patient's timeline when he was visiting the province and said he had come into close contact with 32 people during his one-day stay.

Low-risk contacts were advised to observe social distancing and, where possible, self-isolate until doctors give them the all-clear.

According to officials, the resort and the restaurant were found to have complied with disease control measures.

Investigations in the other areas the man had travelled to remain ongoing.

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