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National Disease Control Chief refuses to clarify Phuket coronavirus report

National Disease Control Chief refuses to clarify Phuket coronavirus report

PHUKET: The Deputy Director-General of the national Department of Disease Control (DDC) Dr Kajohnsak Kaewjarus, flew to Phuket from Bangkok today only to refuse to confirm or deny whether a Chinese tourist in Phuket had contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus as confirmed by a report issued by the DDC last month.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 4 March 2020, 07:32PM

Dr Kajohnsak today (Mar 4) instead would only say that the information in the report was unreliable. He would not elaborate on which parts of the report were considered accurate.

The report had been uploaded online by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, but was later pulled down. Copies of the report posted online since the beginning of the week have since gone viral on Thai social media.

The 11-page report – marked as issued on Feb 12, Day 40 since MoPH began its virus-prevention campaign – lists 33 patients confirmed as infected with COVID-19.

Patient No 26 on the list is reported as a Chinese national, 35 years old, who on Feb 3 presented him or herself at a private hospital and was later isolated at Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town.

Patient No 26 was reported as having a body temperature of 37.7ºC and a sore throat.

In the report’s column marked “Result of laboratory test”, Patient No 26, like all 32 others in the list, is marked: “Coronavirus family: Detected”

Dr Kajohnsak said he had checked the report himself and confirmed it was a genuine report issued by the DDC.

“But the information inside this document is not reliable because it needs to clarified and updated before we publish it on our website,” he said.

Dr Kajohnsak said that the report, featured on official DDC letterhead with a pink background, included “unfinished information”.

“Reports with pink letterheads are not reliable to publish,” he said.

The DDC posts official daily Situation Updates (click here) and daily News Release Updates (click here) with blue letterheads, which Dr Kajohnsak explained were the reliable “final” versions.

 Of note, however, is that the pink letterhead report now leaked to the public contains listed information on the patients who apparently had already tested positive for the virus.

Thai Residential

None of the finalised “blue” reports issued to the public have ever included that information.

As for the leaked “pink” report for Feb 12, the “unreliable” report includes all the exact same information as featured in the final “blue” report for Feb 12 – except that the “blue” report features no information at all about any of the patients in Thailand who have tested positive for the virus.

Asked specifically whether patient No 26 had tested positive for the virus, now that Dr Kajohnsak said that he himself had checked the report, the DDC Deputy Director refused to answer.

He also refused to confirm whether any persons in Phuket had been confirmed as infected with the virus.

“I admit that there are Patients Under Investigation [PUI] at Vachira Phuket Hospital who are suspected of being having the virus,” he said, while declining to confirm exactly how many people at the hospital were “under investigation”.

During his visit to Vachira hospital today, Dr Kajohnsak toured the facilities and gave his encouragement to staff working at the hospital.

Meanwhile, Rewat Areerob, assistant secretary to Deputy Public Health Minister, told The Phuket News, “Thank you I will present this to the Public Health Minister soon to prove clearly what is true and what is false about the report.”

Dr Kajohnsak’s visit today follows Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol yesterday taking reporters on a tour of the facilities at the hospital in response to a formal complaint accusing the hospital director of not taking appropriate measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

The complaint, filed with Phuket City Police on Sunday, was filed by two doctors, including one who works at the hospital, Dr Chalermpong confirmed.

Phuket City Police Chief Col Teerawat Liamsuwan confirmed to The Phuket News that the complaint was genuine, but declined to offer any further details, or a copy of the complaint.

However, Col Teerawat did volunteer, “This case also has been reported to the National Anti-Corruption Commission [NACC].” (See story here.)


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Kurt | 05 March 2020 - 12:06:34

17 Feb, Phuket health Chief Thanit held a press conference to say that he can say nothing. Now a director-General, all the way here from Bangkok, same-same. Refusal, talking around the bush, not informing straight forward the public. For what Thailand employ such officials? Inhabitants have the right on correct and updated info, regardless the 'colour of the government paper'. 

goldwing | 05 March 2020 - 05:23:35

as usual money is put before safety in Phuket, the Once in a life Time Jingle is true, come to Thailand and die. 

Kurt | 04 March 2020 - 20:20:49

Wow, to fly to Phuket, just to unlock that there are 'pink' and 'blue' government notices. I am astonished that this is openly shared with us. Really worth to fly to Phuket for it. Thank you. Further good not to inform the public. No need for any unreliable info.


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