Chiang Rai public health chief Thotsathep Boonthong on Thursday evening (Dec 3) confirmed the new infection, reports the Bangkok Post.
Dr Thosathep presented a timeline of the new local case, a 28-year-old man.
On Nov 28, three friends, all of whom were later found infected and received treatment in Phayao and Chiang Mai provinces, came to his room in Chiang Rai around 1pm after returning from Tachilek. They stayed overnight with him. In the evening of that day, the man went to work at a restaurant as usual.
Next morning, he and the three friends stayed in the room.
Around 5pm, they went to the Farm Festival at Singha Park and stayed there until 11pm. They later visited a nightspot in Chiang Rai province and stayed there until 5am the next day.
On Nov 30, the four people left for Chiang Mai by private car around noon.
On Dec 1, he returned to Chiang Rai by public transport around 8am. In the evening, he went to work at the restaurant as usual.
On Dec 2, he learned that his Phayao friend had become infected with COVID-19. He then took a COVID test at a private hospital and the result showed he tested positive. He later sought treatment at a public hospital in Chiang Rai.
The patient was a close friend of the infected 28-year-old native of Phayao province who worked at the 1G1 Hotel entertainment venue in Tachilek.
Tachilek news spurs Covid-19 testing rush
Hundreds of people who visited two entertainment places in Phichit rushed to a hospital to seek COVID-19 tests after learning an infected returnee went to the places during the same period, the Bangkok Post also reported.
Since Wednesday evening, about 500 visitors to Bird Bar and Crocodile Rock Pub in Muang district have flocked to the hospital for the tests. They had been to both places during Nov 28-30, the period when a Phichit native who had sneaked back from Tachileik border town of Myanmar with COVID-19 had been.
The rush followed an announcement of the COVID-19 case in Phichit on Wednesday.
Staff of Phichit Hospital were mobilised to conduct the tests and collect information from the at-risk people.
Apart from the testing rush, the case in Phichit also reduced by 80% the number of tourists at the province’s Street Food festival set in Phichit municipality for Dec 1-10. Most people also disappeared from the Thesaban 2 market in the municipality.
The Phichit case is a 25-year-old native who had been at 1G1 Hotel in Tachilek during Nov 17-27, together with her close friend from Bangkok.
She sneaked back to Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai on Nov 28, took a flight to Bangkok and another one to Phitsanulok before travelling to Phichit.
On the same day she went to Bird Bar with four friends without wearing a face mask. On the next two days, she revisited Bird Bar and also went to Crocodile Rock Pub. She tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.
She is among 10 Covid-infected Thai women who sneaked back from work in Tachilek late last month.
COVID-19 situation from Tachilek ‘under control’
Health authorities assured on Thursday that the COVID-19 situation related to 10 illegal returnees from Myanmar’s border town of Tachilek was under control.
Dr Kiatiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for health, said at the Public Health Ministry in Nonthaburi province that health officials had information about the whereabouts and timelines of the women, found people who had been in contact with them and kept them in safe places, reports the Bangkok Post.
“A disease spread should be out of the question for now,” he said.
According to Dr Kiatiphum, the 10 patients are in hospitals and have mild symptoms. Officials found 699 people had been in contact with them.
Among the at-risk people, 175 who had been in close contact with them tested negative and are in 14-day quarantine. The remaining 524 with a low risk of infection were also isolated.
The negative test results of high-risk people brought a sense of relief and if they remain free of COVID-19 by the end of the quarantine, it could be concluded that the disease did not spread, Dr Kiatiphum said.
He also said that in general people who wore face masks had a low risk of infection. High-risk people are those without protective gear, talk to an infected person for more than five minutes, or stay at a crowded, narrow and poorly ventilated place for longer than 15 minutes.
People who were on the same flights as those taken by Covid-19 cases also have a low risk because air passengers are required to wear face masks, he said.
Dr Kiatiphum said that people should learn a lesson from the 10 returnees who dodged health-screening and quarantine procedures and caused economic damage.
An investigation found the women had sneaked back to a border village in Mae Sai district when local officials were changing shifts, he added.
Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, acting director-general of the Disease Control Department, said that officials in Chiang Rai province contacted their counterparts in Tachilek to seek information about Thai people stranded there.
He said 150 Thais in Tachilek had asked for permission to return to Thailand and they would go through an official border passage.