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25 Covid-19 cases awaiting test results in Phuket, 5 cases confirmed yesterday

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At a tetchy meeting of the Provincial Communicable Diseases Committee in Phuket Town yesterday, Phuket’s Govenor Phakaphong Tavipatana finally admitted to five cases of Covid-19 on the holiday island, three of them still active. After weeks of obfuscation and denying active cases of the coronavirus in Phuket, the Governor finally came clean after repeated questions from a frustrated Phuket press gallery.

The Governor admitted that there are three infected Danish tourists – a 48 year old father, 39 year old mother and their 7 year old child. He told the media that the Danish family had notified staff at their hotel. They were then transferred to a hospital for testing. The family tested positive for infection from the coronavirus.

The Governor says Phuket health officials went through the process of tracking down and testing everyone the family had come into close contact with.

“Immigration officers, the airport taxi driver, a tuk-tuk driver and staff at the hotel.”

“All those people tested negative for the virus, but have been told to self-monitor their heath for the next 14 days.”

The Phuket Governor also finally admitted previous cases of people in Phuket with Covid-19 that had not been reported to the public, although their cases were tracked in the national Centres for Disease Control in Bangkok.

The other two cases were Chinese tourists from Wuhan at the start of February – a 32 year old woman and a 35 year old man. No further details from the Governor as to when the cases were identified, where they were treated, and if they are still in Phuket. But he did confirm that officials had tracked down people who had been in contact with the Chinese tourists – none of them tested positive.

Governor Pakpong said there had been a total of 519 patients under surveillance since the outbreak.

When asked by a reporter if one of the cases was at the Bangkok Hospital Phuket, the Governor would neither confirm or deny the report. He also took the opportunity to take a swipe at the Phuket media pack attacking them for publishing the information without awaiting a formal announcement from the Governor. He accused the local press of spreading rumours through social media.

Over the past two months Phuket officials have failed to confirm any active cases on the island despite a constant barrage of questions and rumours from Phuket’s media community.

The Governor assured the media yesterday that surveillance and preliminary screening is being stepped up at all land and air borders on the island. The idea of closing Sarisan Bridge, blocking traffic from the mainland into Phuket at the Tha Chat Chai checkpoint, had been discussed by the Provincial Communicable Diseases Committee but not implemented.

Yesterday Phuket’s main news sources widely reported the 5 cases of Covid-19 in Phuket. The news was reported by The Southern News, Phuket People’s Voice, Phuket Andaman News and Newshawk Phuket.

 

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