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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

South Korea issues travel advisory for Thailand

Jack Burton



PHOTO: Medical personnel spray disinfectant on arriving passengers - File photo

South Korea’s government is advising its nationals not to travel to Thailand due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. Other countries on the advisory include Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam. Vice Minister of Health & Welfare Kim Gang-lip told a press briefing that the measure aims to prevent the inflow of Covid-19 into the country.

Taiwan has asked Seoul to correct information reported by state-run news agency Yonhap, which said Taiwan is one of the places where the virus is spreading. Yonhap says the advice came after the World Health Organization on Sunday picked six countries as possible places where the virus is spreading within communities.

A Taiwan spokesperson said while Taiwan respects the South Korean government’s efforts to battle Covid-19, its information on the spread of the virus in Taiwan is incorrect. Taiwan has had 18 confirmed virus cases with no fatalities since the virus broke out in Wuhan last year.

Thai health officials recently confirmed another case of Covid-19, raising the total number of infections to 33. Lab tests confirmed she was infected with the virus on Feb 8th.

The director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC) says the new case is a 54-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan. She has been placed under observation as she had close contact with patients earlier diagnosed with the virus.

Among virus cases in Thailand, 23 patients remain in hospital, while 10 have fully recovered and been released from hospital.

Last month a South Korean woman tested positive for virus after visiting Thailand. The 42 year old, identified only as Patient 16, flew back to South Korea on January 19 after traveling in Thailand.

The DDC’s deputy director-general says the woman could have contracted the virus in Thailand. “It’s possible because the virus is already spreading domestically in Thailand.”

Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has repeatedly assured the public that the situation is “100% under control.” The PM says Thailand is fully equipped to cope with Covid-19 the virus, citing a recent rating by Johns Hopkins, which put Thailand 6th out of 195 countries for “effective early warning and preventive systems to cope with the outbreak of a communicable disease.”

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry rejected as untrue a report the virus is airborne, saying the coronavirus is transmitted by droplets from coughs and sneezes, and can only travel a few metres through the air.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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