Governor of hotspot Thai province infected

BANGKOK (AP) — The governor of a province at the centre of an expanding COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand has been confirmed infected with the coronavirus after meeting with public health officials including the deputy prime minister.

The meeting on Sunday attended by Samut Sakhon Governor Weerasak Wijitsaengsri, Deputy PM Anutin Charnvirakul and others was considered a low risk of spreading the virus because everyone wore masks, said spokesperson for the COVID-19 response centre Dr Taweesilp Visanuyotin.

The governor did not have symptoms but would be treated at a hospital, Taweesilp said.

Anutin, who is also Thailand’s public health minister, wrote on Facebook that he has tested negative for the virus and is isolating at home for 14 days.

Thailand reported 144 new cases yesterday, most of them locally transmitted, and its total has reached 6,285.

The Southeast Asian country had virtually no cases beyond quarantined travellers for months, but its totals have surged since an outbreak among migrant workers at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon was detected in mid-December.

The province was put under lockdown on December 19. Confirmed cases related to the seafood market have been found in 43 other provinces, including the capital, Bangkok.

Taweesilp said every province has to work hard to control the virus situation and the number of new infections could reach the thousands daily if nothing was done to prevent the spread.

“The best way is to avoid travelling and meetings.”