Coronavirus (Covid-19)ThailandTourism

Escaped Israeli officially cleared of Covid-19, now faces prosecution

PHOTO: The Israeli man that snuck out of his arrival hotel is cleared of Covid-19 and facing charges. (via Supapong Chaolan)

The good news is: you don’t have Covid-19. The bad news: you’re being sent to police custody. In the most recent twist to the case of an Israeli tourist who entered Thailand on Friday and snuck off before receiving his Covid-19 test only to be diagnosed with Omicron as a nationwide manhunt ensued, the man has now been determined to be Covid-19 free.

Ohad Baruch, the 29 year old Israeli in question, was tested on arrival for Covid-19 and authorities reported he was positive with faint traces of the Omicron variant too. Before those results had been determined, he took off to Pattaya and, after being refused a hotel room without a passport, headed to Koh Samui where he eventually contacted the Israeli Embassy to turn himself in as police hunted him.

The police were alerted and took him into custody at a restaurant in Bangrak on the island of Koh Samui, transporting him to Bangkok Hospital Samui and later Koh Samui Hospital to be quarantined, both of which tested him again for Covid-19. Surprisingly, the tests from both hospitals came back negative.

To get a definitive answer, the Department of Medical Science ordered a third test to be sent to their Muang branch on the mainland. The Israeli man was given the third Covid-19 test which came back from the Regional Medical Sciences Centre all clear this afternoon.

The director of Koh Samui Hospital posits that the traveller was infected with a mild case of Covid-19, possibly due to being vaccinated, and has already recovered from the virus he tested positive for 6 days previously. As such, doctors declared him fully recovered and not contagious and released him from medical care.

But the relief of testing negative for Covid-19 was short-lived, as Baruch still will face charges for running off before the RT-PCR test results, which breaks a law regarding a foreigner who fails to stay where he was permitted in the country. That carries a fine of 5,000 baht. More importantly, the man’s escape was a flagrant violation of the Covid-19 Emergency Decree, which carries a maximum of 40,000 baht and 2 years in prison.

The South Bangkok District Court issued a warrant for Baruch’s arrest on the violations of Thai law and Covid-19 regulations, so Israeli man was sent this afternoon to the Thong Lor Police Station in Bangkok to face charges formally.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.