Thailand tests nearly 600 people exposed to mystery COVID-19 case

BANGKOK (CNA) – Thailand said yesterday it had tested nearly 600 people potentially exposed to the country’s first domestic coronavirus case in more than three months, but has so far found no new infections.

The man, 37, worked at a night establishment at three different venues in Bangkok in the two weeks before he tested positive on arrival in prison, following his recent conviction for a drugs-related offence.

Individuals deemed at risk across 12 venues including the court where he appeared, night establishments and supermarkets were tracked down and 569 tests were administered, the Public Health Ministry said.

So far, tests have come back negative and 32 individuals were awaiting results. Authorities asked 400 other individuals considered low-risk to self-quarantine for 14 days.

How the man became infected remains a mystery, with Thailand’s recent cases, typically less than a handful each day, detected in state quarantine among people returning from abroad.

Thailand reported 3,447 confirmed infections, 58 fatalities and relaxed internal restrictions.

That toll is one of the region’s lowest, with Indonesia and the Philippines the highest with more than 200,000 cases each.

Natural border crossings and check points with neighbouring countries like Myanmar and Laos have been tightened to prevent illegal entry, Thai Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Chatchai Promlert said.

The re-emergence of the virus in Thailand was another blow to its economy, delaying a plan from October 1 to start allowing the return of foreign tourists, with mandatory quarantine and limits on movement.