“The number of Chinese tourists is likely to drop by half this year – creating an enormous impact on Thailand’s tourism industry.”
Thailand’s health authorities are taking more stringent precautions over Chinese arrivals in Thailand following the confirmation of coronavirus case #6 in Hua Hin, a resort town south west of Bangkok. Panlop Singhaseni, Prachuap Khiri Khan’s governor, says they are currently awaiting the latest test results on a 73 year old Chinese woman who has been quarantined at a Hua Hin hospital after telling her hotel that she was suffering flu-like symptoms.
Latest global UPDATE.
The woman, a Chinese health official, landed on a plane from Wuhan on January 19 at Suvarnabhumi Airport and then hired a taxi to Hua Hin. She has been receiving treatment at a private hospital who, in turn, contacted the provincial medical office. The woman has since been quarantined.
Her travel companions and the taxi driver are also being contacted – her friends have told medical officials that they are feeling ok at the moment and have not exhibited any symptoms.
Suwanchai Watthanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Thai Department of Disease Control says the Public Health Ministry will handle the issue if the patient is confirmed to have contracted coronavirus (although some media outlets have already described the 73 year old’s case as ‘confirmed’).
He also reported that there are 20 cases of People Under Investigation currently in Thailand. All patients were found to have either stayed in or were travelling from Wuhan. Four of the patients are Chinese nationals. Two have already been discharged. The fifth, a Thai woman in Nakhon Pathom, has also been discharged. Passengers flying from nearby Chinese capitals, including Guangzhou in southern China, are also being routinely screened. Don Mueang Airport is now monitoring all flights from Guangzhou and directing passengers to a designated gate for screening. Some 24,000 passengers from China arrive at Don Mueang Airport every day.
“We’ve been doing beyond what is recommended and we started early.”
Passengers out of Wuhan, specifically, have been screened since January 3. As of last Friday, 53 people had been detected in as “suspected cases” and temporarily quarantined. 33 have already been quickly discharged.
“Checking the temperature of passengers travelling from high-risk areas remains the most effective detection tool.”
Meanwhile, Chiang Mai Airport reports that some 200-300 tourists are currently stranded and flights are being arranged to get them to their intended destinations within three days. The Secretary-general of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, Sumalee Wongcharoenkul, admits the current coronavirus situation is likely to evolved over the next two months and is likely to cause the number of Chinese tourists to drop by half this year – creating an enormous impact on Thailand’s tourism industry.
To put the issue into perspective, the US Centre for Disease Control estimates that influenza results in 9 – 45 million cases, that ends up in 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalisations and 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually, over the past decade.
The novel coronavirus is another flu-like virus that is related to the SARS and MERS viruses that emerged and faded over the past two decades. Chinese health officials have already noted that the majority of recent deaths related to the novel coronavirus were in people with underlying health conditions, or the elderly.
Here’s the latest global update on the Coronavirus situation.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post