He later admitted he had travelled to Japan and tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
The management of the hospital stated today (Feb 26) that the man arrived at the facility on Sunday (Feb 23) with a cough and a fever. When questioned, he said he had not travelled abroad. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia and was admitted.
The following morning a lung expert examined him and asked if he had taken an overseas trip. He again denied leaving the country.
Later in the morning, he admitted to travelling abroad. He was isolated and immediately given a COVID-19 test. The result showed that evening that he had contracted the disease.
“The patient’s concealment and denial of the overseas trip resulted in 30 hospital officials who came into close contact with him being put at risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection,” the hospital stated.
The staff initially tested negative but were to be checked repeatedly over the next 14 days. They were put on home quarantine.
“The concealment has had a negative impact on society, other people and your own family members,” the hospital stated. The patient had already been referred to a public hospital.
Media reported that the patient travelled to Hokkaido with his family members and returned on a flight to Thailand last Thursday (Feb 20).
He was listed as one of the three new cases in a briefing this morning by Permanent Health Secretary Sukhum Karnchanapimai, taking the country’s total to 40.
However, there’s no widespread community transmission of the disease in Thailand yet, Dr Sukhum said.
‘Full war with COVID-19’
The outbreak of the disease known as COVID-19 has hurt Thailand’s tourism-reliant economy and sparked a slump in the country’s stock market and its currency.
Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said at the same briefing that COVID-19 has been classified as a dangerous communicable disease. Under the change, anybody with suspect symptoms after visiting a high-risk country must report to the authorities within three hours.
In an earlier Facebook post, Mr Anutin said Thailand has detected more suspected cases and groups at risk of contracting the disease, as well as infections from travellers returning home after visiting high-risk countries.
“Those who are planning to travel abroad in this period, if it’s possible to avoid that, please avoid it,” Mr Anutin said.
“We are entering a full war with COVID-19,” he added.
Returning travellers must report where they went to disease control officers stationed at airports, he said in the Facebook post, adding people shouldn’t conceal symptoms as that could cause the virus to spread.