25 Thais from tour group have Omicron
Most of the group of 31 Thais who returned from a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia and arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on Dec 15 have now been found to have been infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Initially, the Nonthaburi provincial health office said that seven returnees in Nonthaburi tested positive for the variant as reported by the Bangkok Post on Monday. On Tuesday, the office reported that it found that total infections among the group number 25 out of the 31.
Those who tested positive are from various parts of the country with 14 coming from Nonthaburi, four from Pathum Thani, four from Ayutthaya, two from Bangkok and one from Nakhon Ratchasima, said the office.
Among the 14 infected people in Nonthaburi, five were confirmed to have Omicron after testing negative for Covid-19 upon arriving in Thailand last Wednesday, said the office.
At present, the 25 people are now in state quarantine. People who have been in close contact with the 25 are required to contact local health authorities as soon as possible.
Chiang Rai, meanwhile, announced the confirmation of its first Omicron variant case, a 36-year-old British traveller who had recently entered the province after he had arrived in Bangkok.
The man left England with a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test result and he still tested negative upon arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport on Dec 13, said Pasakon Bunyalak, Chiang Rai's governor.
The tourist spent two nights staying at a hotel in Bangkok before travelling by air to Chiang Mai where he met three American friends, said the governor.
From Chiang Mai, the Briton hired a car with a driver to drop him off in Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai on Dec 15 where he checked in at a hotel, said the governor.
The man visited a restaurant near the hotel before he developed a high fever and a sore throat, said the governor, adding that the tourist had then gone to a pharmacy to buy a Covid-19 antigen test kit. He tested positive for Covid-19 that night and waited until the following morning to visit a hospital for an RT-PCR Covid-19 test which confirmed the result.
The man was admitted to the hospital for treatment and specimens were taken from him and sent to the Department of Medical Sciences for further testing, which revealed that he had the Omicron variant, said the governor.
His American friends he had met in Chiang Mai and the driver who took him to Chiang Rai are now considered having a high risk of contracting the virus, even though their initial tests returned negative results, said the governor.