Chiang Rai tracking contacts of infected returnees

Chiang Rai tracking contacts of infected returnees

At least 40 of 400 Thais still in Tachilek want to come home, say provincial officials

Deputy governor Voravit Chaisawat (centre) and public health officials in Chiang Rai discuss the follow-up response to positive Covid tests in two illegal returnees from Myanmar on Saturday. (Photo from Chiang Rai public health office Facebook page)
Deputy governor Voravit Chaisawat (centre) and public health officials in Chiang Rai discuss the follow-up response to positive Covid tests in two illegal returnees from Myanmar on Saturday. (Photo from Chiang Rai public health office Facebook page)

CHIANG RAI: Authorities in this northern province have begun tracking down people who came into contact with two young women who crossed into the country illegally from Myanmar and were found infected with Covid-19.

The women, both 25, entered the country via a natural passage in Mae Sai district on Nov 28. Like the other illegal returnees earlier confirmed to have Covid-19 in Chiang Mai and Phayao, they worked at the 1G1 hotel and casino complex in Tachilek, said Voravit Chaisawat, the deputy governor of Chiang Rai.

After the women learned that their friends were infected, they sought tests at a private clinic in Mae Sai but no infections were detected, said Mr Voravit.

The women later asked two other friends with whom they were staying to get Covid-19 tests, which also came back negative. They later went out to a market before returning to their accommodation.

On Dec 2, the two women felt feverish and called Mae Sai Hospital to pick them up for health checks. Both tested positive, said the deputy governor. Their two friends were tested again, but with negative results.

Officially, the two women are the 10th and 11th covid cases recorded in Chiang Rai since the pandemic began early this year. Of the 11 cases, five involved illegal border crossers.

The women are now being treated at Chiang Rai Phrachanukroh Hospital.

The hotel in Tachilek has now been linked to at least 15 Covid-19 cases in people who worked there or people who later came in contact with the infected workers.

Thailand has sealed the border with Myanmar, where Covid-19 cases now exceed 95,000, with just over 2,000 deaths. Only trucks are allowed to cross in designated areas, prompting Thais working in Myanmar to sneak back into the country.

Mr Voravit said there were still about 400 Thais stranded in Tachilek. He notified the Thai-Myanmar border committee on Saturday that 40 Thais had sought permission to cross the border legally to Thailand. Sixty-seven people who earlier entered the country were now in state quarantine facilities, he added.

Dr Somsak Uthaipim, deputy director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, said it was currently treating eight patients with Covid-19, of whom three were asymptomatic.


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