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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Returning Thais tested for Indian variant of Covid-19



PHOTO: Old Siam Shopping Plaza denies Covid-19 rumour. via WIkimedia

A group of Thais just back from India who tested positive for Covid-19 are feared to have the very dangerous Indian variant. Health officials are rushing to confirm what strain of Covid-19 the returning travellers have. The Public Health Ministry already had labs analyzing samples to identify if it is indeed the Indian variant. India is currently deep in a pandemic crisis, with 385,000 infections yesterday and nearly 3,500 dead from the mutated variant of Covid-19 battering the country now.

Lab results are expected in the next day or two and will be released as soon as they are conclusive. A spokesman for the Public Health Ministry said that Thailand has already enacted the strictest safety measures to curb transmission, and they want to avoid a public panic. Rumours had already been spread on social media that eight Thai students had contracted the new variant and now returned from India to Thailand.

More online rumours were spreading that the students had visited the Old Siam Shopping Plaza in central Bangkok creating the need to disinfect the mall and close facilities for 3 days. The shopping plaza denied rumours that a Covid-19 infected Indian person visited their location. They have reviewed video footage with health officials as well as the timelines of all known infected people and found nobody with Covid-19 had been seen entering the mall.

The director for the Institute for Urban Disease Control and Prevention gave partial support in dispelling the rumour, confirming that there were no credible reports of the Indian variant in Thailand so far, and therefore none at the mall. On the other hand, he said the plaza did have infected visitors from Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.

The Old Siam Shopping Plaza is threatening legal action against people spreading rumours online using Thailand’s strict defamation laws.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. John_2

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    Congratulations – have they just woken up?

    How about a blanked ban on travel from India and Brazil – or does that happen AFTER it lands here?

  2. Simon Small

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    If quarantined, as required, how could they have visited the Plaza when infected / contagious?

    Or did they visit the Plaza after quarantine?

    The source Bangkok Post report is unclear, but the re-written report here seems to suggest they may have gone to the Plaza when still infected.

  3. James R

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    Sim Small aks Issan John

    You will soon find out, if they did go to the mall then infections will shoot up exponentially in unrestricted Thailand as the Indian version of the virus is so virulent.

    Oops sorry, you do have to wear a mask while you bump shoulders with each by the tens of millions daily in malls, restaurants etc, that might help a tiny bit.

    The hospitals are full as patients have to use the field hospitals yet the number of reported infections do not reflect that, I suspect porky pies (lies) again.

    Superman is not from Krypton, he is from Thailand.

  4. Ben

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Thailand, for all its strict adherence to anti-COVID measures like masks and closing down cities, has a blind spot totally of its own making. They allow Thai nationals to enter the country without a negative COVID test! My guess is 98+% of the imported cases are Thai nationals coming home. This also potentially exposes tourists (who they want to come and spend money) to the virus on flights with Thai nationals. There’s some kind of Thai logic that it’s wrong to prevent Thai’s from coming back to Thailand for any reason. During a world-wide pandemic, isn’t it logical to wait until Thai nationals test negative like everyone else?

    I arrived in Bangkok in early March and because of quarantine and lockdowns I personally have only spent about one-third of what I planned to spend here. In my opinion Thailand shot themselves in the foot by 1) Allowing Thais to enter illegally (Thais working at Myanmar casinos sneaking back and forth across the border) and legally without testing (see above) which spread to the general population which included Hi-So’s and Farangs that partied like there was no COVID. This is not happening in China, Vietnam, Singapore or Hong Kong. Now Thailand has to shut everything down to stop the spread and bend the curve. Add to that the slow vaccination roll out, also of its own making, and you have a big hit to the economy.

    I understand it’s a tough job but they managed to do it most of last year through April. They got complacent and didn’t understand they’re now dealing with a much more contagious strain. Now the Thais are human like everyone else in containing this diabolical virus.

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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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