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COVID infected Egyptian soldier triggers Rayong inquiry

COVID infected Egyptian soldier triggers Rayong inquiry

THAILAND: The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has been taking urgent measures after an Egyptian soldier confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 was found to have visited shopping malls in Rayong province.

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 14 July 2020, 08:57AM

Workers clean roads and places in the Rayong Municipality yesterday (July 13) after an Egyptian soldier infected with the coronavirus stayed at a hotel and went to shopping malls in Muang district. Photo: Rayong Municipality Facebook account.

Workers clean roads and places in the Rayong Municipality yesterday (July 13) after an Egyptian soldier infected with the coronavirus stayed at a hotel and went to shopping malls in Muang district. Photo: Rayong Municipality Facebook account.

Meanwhile, the family of a nine-year-old Thai girl infected with COVID-19 is being investigated after its members were found to not be in embassy accommodation, having stayed in a condominium.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha will visit Rayong today (July 14) while a deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control will visit a condominium in Bangkok.

The visitors from Egypt stayed in Rayong en route to a one-day trip to China, where they had military business, then returned to the province on their way home.

All were allowed to enter the country, says the CCSA, as they were defined as air crew under the conditions set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. They were not asked to quarantine because they were coming for less than 14 days but they were required to undergo virus tests.

The general manager of U-Tapao airport, Vice Adm Kitchpol Rienglekjamnong, said only one member of the group, a soldier, sneaked out to visit shopping centres.

Echoing many social media users who spread the hashtag #Covid19 (in Thai), the Drama-addict Facebook page, which has more than 2 million followers, urged authorities to reveal exactly which locations had been visited by the infected man.

The page said people had the right to know in order to protect themselves. The centre had at that stage only published the vaguest information, by identifying Rayong as the province visited.

Mr Sathit said later on Monday he would visit Rayong and check locations including Central department store, Laem Thong shopping mall and D Varee Diva Central Rayong Hotel.

Central yesterday announced it had checked and no COVID-19-infected patients visited the mall while the hotel said it had been informed by the Egyptian embassy that the group had passed COVID screening.

CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said officials from Bangkok would join local staff in the province to check for coronavirus contagion at every place visited by members of the delegation, as well as everyone they came into contact with.

The health scare follows a positive result returned from the lab on Sunday after tests on a swab taken from the 43-year-old soldier. He was one of three new confirmed cases announced by the CCSA yesterday. The other two were Thais returning from working in Kuwait and Bahrain.

The soldier and 30 others, including crew of their aircraft, departed Egypt on July 6 and went to the United Arab Emirates. They then travelled to Pakistan the next day, Tuesday, and arrived at U-tapao airport in Rayong on Wednesday.

The UAE, Pakistan and Egypt are all hot spots for COVID-19 infections found in Thais returning home from overseas.

M Beach Club Phuket

The information posted on the CCSA Facebook page said the group stayed at a hotel in the province.

The team left U-tapao for Chengdu, China, last Thursday and returned shortly before midnight the same day, staying at the same hotel.

Dr Taweesilp said health officials tested them on Friday and there were unconfirmed signs that the soldier might have caught the virus.

The group returned to Egypt on Saturday, the day before the lab confirmed the positive result.

The spokesman said the hotel where the soldier and other members of the delegation stayed was being cleaned. The group visited other places during their stay in the province, including a shopping centre, he said, but he would not name the locations.

“We will examine all the places they visited,” said the CCSA spokesman.

Authorities would also improve the scanning at the airport in Rayong, which was not as strictly enforced as it was at Suvarnabhumi airport. “We will reconsider all practices,” he said.

Officials from the Disease Control Department would be sent to conduct tests on everyone who visited the two premises, Mr Sathit said.

On Saturday, the CCSA also reported that a nine-year-old Thai girl who returned home from Sudan with her family had tested positive.

Dr Taweesilp said yesterday she had been hospitalised but the other four family members had not been quarantined because they were the family of a diplomat. They has reportedly self-isolated at a condominium in Bangkok, which the CCSA did not name.

The mother took everyone to get tested in Sudan last Tuesday before they left home, said Dr Taweesilp, and all tested negative.

Three days later, they were tested on arrival and the results were negative but more comprehensive tests showed the girl was infected.

Officials were continuing to investigate the case.

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LALALA | 16 July 2020 - 09:27:07

DEK.. you may remember the 2 Chinese cases which were covered up on Phuket for month...there is always a way to non disclose Information to the public, especially in LOS. 

DeKaaskopp | 15 July 2020 - 16:18:45

@Shalala   Didn't know that Europe is a country. Anyway-according to you- at least I learned that due to more testing they managed the Covid crisis well over there.In the meantime I wait to hear the news about overcrowding hospitals in Thailand  due to patients with Covid-symptoms.

Kurt | 15 July 2020 - 11:32:07

@ Paddy, well as the Thai Government health Covid-19 requirement now demands 14 days quarantine, than if you here less than 14 days you suppose to stay all these days in quarantine until your departure. Simple is that.
Thai Government really did f... up with that Egyptian soldiers adventure. General Pranut already apologised for it. Hope there is still space in the barracks for new 'in-active...

Kurt | 15 July 2020 - 10:22:23

The fly route Egypt --> China is shorter than the route Egypt -> Thailand -> China v.v.    So, why was the route of this plane with possible Egypt Covid infected soldiers via Thailand? Contaminating U-Tapao airport and Thai towns? Bringing many Thai people now in health problems. Did the Egyptians visited massage shops? Was that a stop over bonus?

Christy Sweet | 15 July 2020 - 08:33:27

Sneaked out "to go shopping"?  Better  check the massage parlors in the area. 

LALALA | 14 July 2020 - 18:16:21

DEK, I originally come from Europe. Test ratio is 10-15 times higher than in LOS. More tests=more cases. As they literally stopped testing in LOS they not have any more cases. This has nothing to do with managing something or not. Its the old SEA mentality, when you do nothing you can not make mistakes, and if there is a mistake its always somebody else fault. LOS is very good in it.

DeKaaskopp | 14 July 2020 - 17:44:25

@ Lala   Maybe you could name your home country and tell us about how well they managed the Covid situation there ?

Kurt | 14 July 2020 - 16:17:04

As the Thai Government says it herself:..." UAE, Pakistan, Egypt, and don't forget China are all hot spots as we noticed, seen the infected Thai returning from these countries. So, why Egyptian plane + soldiers were allowed to land in Pattaya while they had no business at all in Thailand? U-Yapao airport needs a big sanitising now!

LALALA | 14 July 2020 - 16:13:27

PANIK IN LOS. Very funny to see how the government machinery works. Now all Diplomats and Business Reps banned from entering LOS. Forget a about tourists in 2020. A lot business will be for sale very cheap - if not already - soon and the big players will move in. But hey, all can beblamed on dilty falang, thats how it goes. Welcome to LALALAND.

Paddy | 14 July 2020 - 12:45:39

"They were not asked to quarantine because they were coming for less than 14 days but they were required to undergo virus tests." Did I read this right ?

Kurt | 14 July 2020 - 11:04:02

Aren't we missing something? Missing the reason why Egyptian soldiers were in Rayong, UAE, Pakistan, China? No alarm bells ringing? Foreign soldiers are not on the protocol list of business people, technicians, medical tourists who are allowed to enter Thailand. Now Rayong area in deep trouble.


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