Airport testing shows Covid numbers on arrival 'very low'

Airport testing shows Covid numbers on arrival 'very low'

Travelers wait for taxis at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Travelers wait for taxis at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Five international travellers who arrived in the kingdom in the past two weeks tested positive for Covid-19, while 300-400 departing travellers, including Thais, were infected with the virus, according to health authorities.

In the second week of this month, following the arrival of the first travellers from China on Jan 9, three foreign travellers were found to have the Covid-19 virus. Last week another two infections, one of them from China, were discovered among international arrivals, according to Department of Disease Control (DoDC) director-general Tares Krassanairawiwong.

The government will maintain its current measures to safeguard against infections and continue to monitor the virus situation closely, he said. "There's no cause for concern," he added.

From Jan 16-21, 627 people nationwide, or about 90 a day on average, were admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 treatment. In total, 44 people died from or as a result of the virus during this period, he added.

Also, 277 Covid-19 patients suffered lung infections, with 178 of them requiring life support, he said, adding that in total, 144.57 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been rolled out.

International travellers have arrived in droves since the reopening of borders in the latter half of last year. The latest arrival influx was from China.

Dr Tares said health authorities were on alert and conducting random tests, which showed infections among international arrivals not to be high.

Meanwhile, the Department of Medical Sciences (DoMS), said yesterday that 300-400 people departing the country, including Thais, tested positive for Covid-19 during the past two weeks. Only about 4% of them were from China, said Dr Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the DoMS.

Their infections were confirmed by the result of a pre-departure RT-PCR test they underwent as part of the requirements for returning to or entering some countries such as China and India.

Dr Supakit said samples would be tested to determine what sub-variants they are.

In Thailand, the dominant sub-variant of the Omicron strain is the BA.2.75 with 86-87% prevalence. The XBB sub-strain is rare, while the XBB.1.5 sub-variant is non-existent in Thailand.

Also yesterday, Dr Tares said the DoDC has opened a Covid-19 vaccination centre at the Bangrak Medical Center. The service is available to all on a walk-in basis. The vaccination is free for Thais. Foreign nationals on holiday may choose between a Pfizer shot (1,000 baht) or an AstraZeneca injection (800 baht), plus a fee of 380 baht.

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