Today, 8 February, the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand announced seven more laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV cases, bringing the total of confirmed cases in Thailand so far to 32.
Of the new cases reported, three are Thai nationals and four are visitors from China to Thailand.
This makes it a total of 23 Chinese visitors and 9 Thai nationals confirmed with novel coronavirus infection to date in Thailand.
One of the Thai cases is a man who was among the 138 Thai nationals brought back to Thailand from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China on 4 February and who were immediately placed in quarantine at Thai Navy guesthouses.
He was tested negative for novel coronavirus for two days running, but displayed mild flu-like symptoms on 7 February, yesterday, whereupon tests confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. The Ministry reports that the man is doing well today.
Of the other two Thai cases announced today, one had close contact with international visitors to Thailand. The other case is a close contact of this person.
Out of the four Chinese visitors reported today to have novel coronavirus, three are members of the same family who were close contacts of an earlier confirmed case, thereby constituting a family cluster of infection.
375 persons are currently under investigation
The Ministry of Public Health says that 375 persons are currently under investigation, while 279 have been treated for symptoms and discharged.
Earlier confirmed cases of Thai nationals include two taxi drivers and a bus driver who likely came into contact with infected passengers from China.
The Thai authorities today emphasised that taxi drivers, tourist bus drivers, retail sector employees and other nationals who through their work come into close contact with international visitors constitute a “high risk” category for contracting novel coronavirus.
The government has been conducting a hygiene and safety campaign aimed at citizens who come into close contact with international visitors or who otherwise operate in crowded environments.
There were also two Thai nationals who traveled to Japan and displayed symptoms after returning to Thailand, but health authorities say it’s as yet unclear where they acquired their infection.
A Thai woman who travelled to Wuhan, China, is also counted among the confirmed cases; she has since fully recovered.
A confirmed case in the Republic of Korea had travelled to Thailand prior to onset of illness and diagnosis. The timeline suggests it is possible infection could have been acquired in either Thailand or in the Republic of Korea after the person returned home.
Screening at airports in Thailand has identified fewer and fewer possible cases in recent days. However, screening has been further intensified at prominent ports in Thailand amid reports that dozens more persons on a cruise ship off the coast of Yokohama, Japan had tested positive for novel coronavirus.
About the author
Akanksha Singh is an Indian journalist based in the bustling city of Bangkok, Thailand. With a degree in Mass Communication and years of experience, she has become a trusted voice in reporting on Southeast Asian affairs.