Thai monkeypox fugitive believed to have swam to Cambodia

PHOTO: Nigerian man with monkeypox in Thailand believed to have fled to Cambodia. (via StatPearls)

The hunt has been on for a Nigerian man that was identified as Thailand’s first confirmed monkeypox case in Phuket. He disappeared after failing to report to the hospital and a national manhunt ensued. Now the man with monkeypox is believed to have fled the country by swimming across the Sa Kaeo River into Cambodia.

When this 27 year old man travelled from Nigeria and then reported symptoms to a private hospital in Phuket, Thailand became the 71st country to confirm monkeypox, which had been endemic in a few Central African countries until this recent outbreak.

He tested positive for monkeypox on July 18, but when officials went to pick him up at his condo, he was gone. He had checked into a hotel, and then moved to a second hotel the next day before CCTV footage spotted him handing in his keys at reception and getting into a white car after calling the hospital and saying he was coming in. He hasn’t been seen since.

The Nigerian man is believed to have fled because he has overstayed his visa which expired last November according to the Royal Thai Immigration and likely feared prosecution or deportation. Thai media and some law enforcement sources are reporting that they believe the man with monkeypox fled to the border with Cambodia where he swam across the river into the neighbouring country.

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Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul reported late last night at the National Assembly in Bangkok that authorities had tracked the fugitive monkeypox victim’s cell phone signal to the border at Sa Kaeo. Authorities believe he then entered the river near the Cambodian border town of Ban Khlong Luek, swimming into the country before heading towards Sihanoukville.

Thai authorities are contacting their counterparts in Cambodia they work together in tracking the man in the interests of public health to prevent the spread of monkeypox. More details are expected in an afternoon press conference later today.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

Thailand News

Neill Fronde

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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