“Anyone who visited Rayong during the same period and are worried whether they had unknown close contact with the infected person, please contact the PPHO and come to be tested for free,” Busaya Jaipiam, Chief of the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket), told The Phuket News’ Thai-language sister newspaper Khao Phuket today (July 17).
Phuket Vice Governor Phichet Panaphong explained yesterday that the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Bangkok had confirmed that the Egyptian soldier who was later found infected stayed at D Varee Diva Central Rayong hotel, from July 8-11.
He went shopping at Passion Mall shopping centre, as locally known as Laem Thong department store, on July 10.
The incident initially caused diplomatic tensions between Thailand and Egypt, with Thai health officials blaming Egyptian diplomats, but further investigation revealed lax screening measures at U-Tapao Rayong Pattaya International Airport.
However, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha later apologised for the incident and vowed to step up precautionary measures.
Meanwhile, local residents in Rayong have blamed the scare for severe harm to its tourism industry.
The Interior Ministry on Wednesday ordered all provincial governors to survey people who were in Rayong at the same time as a 43-year-old infected Egyptian soldier and offer them tests for COVID-19.
Disease Control Department Director-General Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai today (July 17) reported that about 2,500 people were tested for COVID-19 in Rayong and Bangkok on Wednesday and Thursday following the double health scare, including the arrival in Bangkok of an infected girl from Sudan, a diplomat’s daughter, late last week.
On Tuesday 1,336 people were tested in Rayong and 267 people in Bangkok. The people were at the same hotel and malls where the Egyptian military delegation were at in Rayong, and at the condominium where the daughter of the Sudanese attache stayed before being admitted to a hospital, reports the Bangkok Post.
Dr Suwannachai said all of those people tested negative.
On Wednesday 1,252 more people were tested in Rayong and 1,247 of them had come back negative. Five other cases were awaiting the results.
On Thursday 1,244 more people were tested in the eastern province and 97 people in Bangkok. Their results were pending.
Those with negative results should still strictly observe disease control measures including wearing face masks, regularly wash their hands, use only personal objects, observe safe distancing and reduce trips away from their residences for 14 days, Dr Suwannachai said.
Late this morning CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin said that of 1,244 tests in Rayong on Thursday, 564 had now returned negative and all 97 people checked on Thursday in Bangkok were negative.
The negative results included 19 people at high risk of infection in Rayong and Bangkok, he said.
Meanwhile, in Phuket today, Ms Busaya explained, “The Phuket Government wants anyone who visited Rayong during the time and concern of the infection, please contact the PPHO by calling their hotline 1422.”