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Omicron Covid-19 cases double, now 205 confirmed in Thailand

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thailand now has over 200 Omicron variant Covid-19 infections. (via KARE)

Just 2 days after Covid-19 infections with the Omicron variant passed 100 in Thailand, Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul has announced that the total has doubled and there are 205 confirmed cases in the country. Several clusters have been identified, with one originating in Kalasin being the cause for most concern.

That cluster started when a husband and wife returned from Belgium with their initial Covid-19 tests on arrival in Thailand coming back negative. They then return freely to their hometown and later continued to Udon Thani in order to visit their children.

Despite the couple initially testing negative for Covid-19, relatives in close contact with the pair tested positive with what was determined to be the Omicron variant after their visit, fueling suspicion the couple who had recently travelled internationally was the source of the outbreak.

Health officials examined through contact tracing to investigate who else could be at high risk and determined there were 22 people in close contact with them – 3 of those being immediate family members, and the other 19 being restaurant employees. Another 100 people were flagged at risk.

The higher-profile case of the Israeli tourist who escaped from his arrival hotel in Bangkok before test results were received found that his initial results came back positive with traces of the Omicron variant. After evading arrest for about 6 days, he turned himself in and was tested three separate times, all of which came back negative for Covid-19.

Officials said he appears to have recovered from infection and there’s no word on any new cases directly linked to his time as a fugitive. The Health Service Support Department will be investigating if the hotel was negligent in enforcing their Covid-19 safety requirements leading to the escape.

While speaking about the Omicron situation, Anutin reassured that there will not be another lockdown despite rumours of one coming in January. The rumours may stem from the fact that Test & Go arrivals have been curbed until at least January 4 so all new international arrivals will have to quarantine or use the Phuket Sandbox, along with the fact that many New Year’s events, especially state-run ones have been cancelled fear of the spread of the Omicron variant.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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    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.

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