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Chiang Rai man tests positive for Covid-19 after contact with infected returnees

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PHOTO: Post Today

A 28 year old Chiang Rai man tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. Health officials believe the man contracted the virus from one of the 10 infected Thai women who recently returned from Myanmar’s border town Tachileik, evading the mandatory 14 day quarantine.

So far, at least 699 people came in contact with the women after they returned, according to permanent secretary of health Kiatiphum Wongrajit. Health officials say the 28 year old man spent time with 3 of the women from November 28 to December 1. The patient is now being treated at a hospital.

The women say they worked at hotels and entertainment venues in Tachileik, many are linked to the 1G1 hotel and entertainment venue in the district. After crossing the border and entering Chiang Rai, some women travelled to Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phichit and Ratchaburi. Some had coronavirus symptoms while they travelled. Kiatiphum says the women are being treated at hospitals, all with mild symptoms.

175 people considered to be at “high risk” have tested negative for Covid-19 and are undergoing a quarantine period. 524 people at “low risk” are also in isolation. If they remain Covid-19 free by the end of the quarantine period, health officials can declare that there was no spread of the virus, Kiatiphum says.

Thailand has only had about a handful local Covid-19 transmissions since September after going 100 days without a local case. Health officials have speculated that most of those cases may have been imported. In rare cases, the incubation period for the virus is longer than 14 days.

“A spread of the disease should be out of the question now.”

Media reports say the women “sneaked” across the Thai-Myanmar border, skipping Covid-19 screening and the mandatory quarantine. The women could face charges for entering Thailand illegally and violating the Emergency Decree. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says he’s asked authorities to press charges “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Now, 150 Thais in Tachileik have asked for permission to legally return to Thailand, according to acting director general of the Department of Disease Control Opas Karnkawinpong. So far, 3 Thai nationals who recently returned to Chiang Rai through the official entry process tested positive for Covid-19 and are now in quarantine.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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