The Indian man, 37, was reported as COVID-positive by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Saturday (Nov 7).
The CCSA reported that the Indian man was working at a restaurant in Krabi, and tested positive last Wednesday (Nov 4) while taking a health test for a work permit. He is not experiencing any symptoms of infection, but is under care at a public hospital while his case is being investigated, the CCSA said on Saturday without revealing further details.
However, Epidemiology Bureau director Walairat Chaifu said on Sunday (Nov 8) that officials are now searching for a Thai man who travelled with the Indian man on a round trip from Phuket to Chiang Mai from Oct 30-Nov 2, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Indian man left Phi Phi island for Phuket on Oct 28, Mr Walairat said.
From there he flew to Chiang Mai on Oct 30, drove to Sukhothai on Oct 31 for the Loy Krathong festival and flew back to Phuket on Nov 2.
He returned to Phi Phi on Nov 4.
Officials are also looking for an American man who dined with the Indian man on Patong Beach the night before the Indian man left for his trip.
“We are looking for his Thai and American friends,” Dr Walairat said.
The Thai man and the American friend are among 79 people considered high-risk, including four family members, due to close contact with the Indian man.
Dr Walairat said tests on three of the family members were negative and the Disease Control Department was waiting for the outcome of a test on his wife.
Samples were collected from other people close to him, including those on the ferry from and to Phi Phi island, as well as passengers seated in the two rows in front of and behind him on flights between Phuket and Chiang Mai, she added.
The man’s most recent overseas trip was to Singapore, but he returned in February.
He first arrived in Thailand in April last year to set up a restaurant on Phi Phi Island. He has a brother on the mainland in Mueang district of Krabi.
The department also considered 211 more people to be in a low-risk category, and Disease Control Department Director-General Opas Karnkawinpong said they were ordered to stay at home for two weeks to monitor their own conditions.
Dr Opas said that chances the Indian had spread the coronavirus to other people were slim because only a small amount of the virus was found during the tests conducted on him.
The department is trying to find the source of the virus as Singapore was the only country outside Thailand he had travelled to since the outbreak began.
Regarding the Indian man attending the Loy Krathong festival in Sukhothai, Dr Walairat said health measures, including a face mask requirement, in place during the festival may have been sufficient to prevent him spreading the virus to other revellers.
As of late Sunday night (Nov 8), Phuket officials had yet to make any announcement that they were searching for any individuals related to the Indian man’s now-confirmed infection.
The news also comes after the CCSA reported on Saturday (Nov 7) that a 38-year-old man from the Netherlands had tested positive for COVID-19 in Phuket.
The man was currently in care at an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) venue in Phuket, the CCSA reported. No other details were made available.