660,000 people in Thailand under watch as potential “high-risk” Covid-19 infections

660,000 people around Thailand have been identified as at “high-risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19.

The director-general of the Health Service Support Department, Dr. Tharet Krasnairawiwong, says that over the past 2 months more than 11.8 million households around Thailand have been visited, identifying potential risk clusters and people who may have come into contact with the coronavirus.

“This group of people includes 59,178 people returning from abroad, 463,756 leaving Bangkok and heading home in the provinces, and those linked to the boxing stadium and entertainment venue clusters.”

The health volunteers have been providing education and advice to the “at risk” people and ensuring that they adhere to strict isolation protocols.

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Meanwhile, epidemiologists have debunked rumours that asymptomatic coronavirus carriers who had returned from Italy may have been responsible for infecting boxing fans and visitors to a Thonglor area pub.

Dr. Yong Pooworavan, a well-known virologist attached to the faculty of medical science at Chulalongkorn University, says that scientists conducted genetic sequencing of several Covid-19 samples from patients and found more than 30 varieties, including those from Wuhan, Italy, Singapore and Indonesia, not Italy.

He made it clear that the strain from Italy, which had been detected in Thailand, was not more dangerous than virus strains from Wuhan, but that the Lumphini boxing cluster affected mostly high-risk people, which made it look as if the virus is more dangerous.

In Phuket, the second worst hit province in Thailand (in actual total case numbers), health workers say they have now screened over 3,000 people since the launch of the door-to-door search measures launched last week. The effort was to track down new coronavirus infections by targeting areas on the island where infection clusters have already occurred, or where there is a high concentration of people who worked in the night entertainment business.

Dr. Sopon Iamsirithavorn, director of the provincial disease control office in Phuket, says that 9% of the “high risk” group were tested and found to be infected. Only 1.1% of the general public tests come back positive.

“Quick discovery of the infected will result in early quarantine, which helps to limit the spread of the disease. The coronavirus situation in Phuket is now under control, although infection rate is second, after Bangkok.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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