Thai returnee tests positive for South Africa Covid-19 variant


A Thai national, who is in quarantine after returning from Tanzania, is infected with the South Africa strain of Covid-19, a variant of the virus known to be more contagious and believed to be resistant to some vaccines. The Department of Disease Control director general Opas Karnkawinpong says health officials are closely monitoring the situation and a rapid screening process will be applied to those arriving from areas at high risk of the South Africa variant.

The 41 year old Thai gem trader had travelled to Tanzania for business. He then travelled to Ethiopia and returned to Thailand on January 29. He tested positive for Covid-19 while undergoing the mandatory 14 day quarantine for those arriving in Thailand. Opas says the new variant is more infectious, but is less severe. He assures the public that no medical staff have been infected while treating the patient.

“The department is closely monitoring the situation following concerns the South Africa variant may have reached Thailand… Mutations, such as the G variant from England, may make the virus spread faster but they are less severe.”

A preliminary report shows that AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine only provides limited protection against the new South Africa strain of the virus. Following the report, the South African government halted the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post| Thai PBS

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Caitlin Ashworth

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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