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No lockdown in Chiang Mai after local Covid-19 case

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PHOTO: INN News

There will be no lockdown in Chiang Mai after the recent Covid-19 case where a woman tested positive at a local hospital after returning from Myanmar. Director general of the Public Health Ministry’s Department of Disease Control, Opas Karnkawinpong, says the locals in Chiang Mai are taking health precautions and he doubts the case will cause an outbreak.

“Widespread Covid-19 transmission is unlikely because people in Chiang Mai are still predominantly wearing masks on a daily basis. The ministry will continue monitoring the situation for a further 14 days.”

Tourist destinations, like Chiang Mai, have taken a beating since international travel restrictions were put in place in late-March. The province now relies on domestic tourism for income and the Bangkok Post says Opas’s statements were made to allay fears of an outbreak.

The 29 year old Thai woman tested positive for Covid-19 during a visit to a Chiang Mai hospital where she reported flu-like symptoms. The woman had worked at a bar in Myanmar and is feared to be a “super spreader.” 2 other women who worked at the same bar tested positive for Covid-19 in Chiang Rai after returning from Myanmar.

On November 23, while still in Myanmar, the original patient developed a fever, watery diarrhea and lost her sense of smell. The next day, while she still had a fever, she travelled by public van and entered Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district. Reports say she was somehow able to evade the mandatory quarantine. She then caught a bus to Chiang Mai.

In Chiang Mai, the woman visited friends and went to a mall where she shopped, had meals and watched a movie. On November 26, she went to the hospital and was tested for Covid-19. Authorities say she came in close contact with 328 people, 107 of them were considered at high risk, but Opas is asking people to remain calm and not to overreact.

“The ministry has been testing all those who came into contact with the patient and there has yet to be a positive result”

For the related cases in Chiang Rai, Opas says they are not as worried about a potential outbreak because the women, ages 23 and 26, apparently did not go out in public. After hearing about her colleague’s case, the 26 year old decided to get tested for the coronavirus. Only 4 people in close contact with the 2 women are considered to be at a high risk while 22 people are asked to take precautions and monitor their health.

The recent local Covid-19 cases and the rising number of infections in Myanmar have prompted Thai officials to tighten security along the Thai-Myanmar border. The Chiang Rai governor Prachon Pratsakul says many Thais working in the neighbouring country are returning with the virus to get treated in Thailand.

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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