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Phuket airport adds virus checks on arrivals from Cambodia after Westerdam passengers allowed entry to Thailand

Phuket airport adds virus checks on arrivals from Cambodia after Westerdam passengers allowed entry to Thailand

PHUKET: Arrivals from Cambodia landing at Phuket International Airport have been added to the watchlist to be screened as potential threats carrying the Wuhan coronavirus, officially designated COVID-19.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 18 February 2020, 11:36AM

Passengers wait to be screened at Phuket International Airport. Photo: AoT Phuket

Passengers wait to be screened at Phuket International Airport. Photo: AoT Phuket

The announcement came from the Airports of Thailand management team at Phuket airport (AoT Phuket), who confirmed that 27 passengers from the cruise ship Westerdam arrived in Bangkok on Sunday night (Feb 16).

The Westerdam passengers arrived from Phnom Penh on Thai Airways International flight TG 585, landing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 10pm Sunday, AoT Phuket reported on its official Facebook page yesterday. (See post here.)

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health has also confirmed that 44 passengers from the MS Westerdam cruise ship arrived in Thailand on Feb 14 and 15, reported state news agency NNT.

All Westerdam passengers were screened on arrival. They were found not to be suffering any fever or upper respiratory infections, and allowed to continue their journeys to their “next destinations”, the report said.

The report did not clarify whether the “next destinations” were international or domestic. (See report here.)

Westerdam infection

The news that Westerdam passengers have been allowed to continue their journeys through Thailand follows an 83-year-old American woman who was a passenger on the Westerdam being confirmed as infected with the virus while attempting to enter Malaysia.

The woman was stopped at Kuala Lumpur International Airport after going through thermal temperature scanners, and later tested positive for the coronavirus, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail explained at a press conference in the Malaysian capital on Sunday.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the Malaysian Disaster Management Centre Committee chairman, countered claims by Cambodian officials that the tests carried out on the woman were not conclusive.

"The wife tested positive twice. The first one, they (Cambodian authorities) said that maybe we did not adhere to protocol,” he said.

He added that Malaysian Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had shown all the test results to his Cambodian counterpart.

"Dr Noor Hisham said we showed everything to them and they agreed that our protocol was actually world class. So, whatever Malaysia did was right,” Malaysian Deputy PM Wan Azizah said.

"It was not a false positive. It was a positive," Dr Wan Azizah confirmed. (See report here.)

The American woman’s 85-year-old husband tested negative, he added.

Japan, Singapore added to watchlist

Meanwhile, health authorities in Thailand have extended coronavirus screening to cover visitors from Japan and Singapore.

"We have expanded our intensive screening to travellers from Japan and Singapore. The screening method will be the same one used on passengers from Wuhan," Public Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Sukhum Kanchanapimai, told a news conference on Monday, reported the Bangkok Post. (See story here.)

Intensive screening was already in place for arrivals from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the report added.

Dr Sukhum urged travellers from Japan and Singapore who develop a fever or respiratory problems within 14 days of entering the country to go to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute or other hospitals to be checked for infection.

Public health authorities yesterday (Feb 17) raised measures against CONVID-19 to “Level 3”, in preparation for a surge in transmissions. Level 3 means medical staff have to undergo screening for the virus, explained the report.

Within the next two months, every province will have at least one hospital capable of testing for Covid-19, the report added.

“The Department of Medical Sciences is also developing a coronavirus test kit that will deliver a result in five minutes. The test kit should be available within two months.”


While confirmation that Westerdam passengers have been allowed to enter Thailand became public, Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday barred passengers and crew from the cruise ship MS Westerdam from entering Thailand.

Mr Anutin said he had ordered all Thai airlines not to issue boarding passes to anyone who had been on the Westerdam for the next 14 days, reported the Bangkok Post.

“And if any airline breaks this new regulation, it must take a responsibility for any damage incurred,” Mr Anutin said.

Thailand yesterday recorded one new coronavirus patient, taking the total number of cases to 35 since January. Fifteen have since recovered. The new case is a 60-year-old Chinese tourist from Wuhan, reported Public Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Sukhum.

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Kurt | 18 February 2020 - 15:42:39

Westerdam not allowed to land/disembark in Thailand, so landing in Cambodia, flying by Thai Airways to Bangkok or travel overland to BKK.  Do I miss something, as I see this whole happening not as logic. 


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