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Rawai sea gypsies test COVID negative in mass check campaign

Rawai sea gypsies test COVID negative in mass check campaign

PHUKET: The COVID test results of hundreds of sea gypsies living in the village in Rawai are in, and not one has been returned with a conclusive result confirming that any villagers are positive for COVID-19.

Tuesday 4 May 2021, 02:25PM


Medical staff process sea gypsies in Rawai presenting themselves to be tested for COVID-19. Photo: PR Phuket

Medical staff process sea gypsies in Rawai presenting themselves to be tested for COVID-19. Photo: PR Phuket

Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos announced the news last night (May 4).

In announcing the proactive COVID-19 screening campaign at the sea gypsy village, it was explained that swab samples were collected from 300 villagers and subjected to RT-PCR tests.

In fact, the actual number of villagers tested was 260, Mr Aroon said.

Of those, 253 tested negative for the virus, he said.

“The remaining seven cases were inconclusive because the samples were tainted with betel nut,” he noted. 

Mr Aroon took the news to be conclusive.

“So, it can be concluded that the sea gypsy community is safe from COVID-19,” he said. 

The campaign came amid concerns that the village could become an epicentre of local infections, compounded by sea gypsies frequently interacting with people from outside Rawai who visit to buy fresh seafood.

INFECTIONS UPDATE

The Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) confirmed 25 new cases of COVID infection on the island just yesterday (May 3), bringing to 463 the total number of people in Phuket officially recognised as infected with COVID-19 since Apr 3.

The report, marked as accurate as of 6pm last night, also marked that in addition to the 438 cases currently officially recognised, plus one case that has now been explained as transferred to Phuket from another province.

The report did note that of the 463 cases, 218 were receiving hospital care and that 246 had already been discharged from hospital care.

Among the 218 cases include one case that has already been publicly explained by officials to have been transferred to Bangkok for treatment. 

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