Public health ministry announces COVID-19 patients remain at 35, another one returns home


BANGKOK – The Ministry of Public Health announced Thailand has remained at very low risk of a COVID-19 epidemic, given the increased preventive measures in many areas with an additional 111, people making a total of 1,152 people, under close watch. The number of COVID-19 patients has remained at 35 and another one has returned home. The public are advised to follow only information from government agencies and to not respond to fake news or rumors.

Dr Thaweesilp Wisanuyothin, spokesperson of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Thanarak Phliphat, deputy director general of the Department of Disease Control and Dr Narong Aphikulwanich, deputy director general of the Department of Medical Services, held a press conference on the COVID-19 situation. The ministry said another patient, a 24-year-old Thai male, has fully recovered and returned home from Chonburi Hospital.

He is one of 138 Thais who have come back from China. The number of patients who have fully recovered and returned home is 20, leaving 15 others hospitalized. The number of COVID-19 patients has not increased and remains at 35, mostly having recovered. Of those currently hospitalized, one is on an ECMO heart-lung bypass machine and another has tuberculosis and remains in an ICU. Both are being closely watched by doctors.

Thailand has taken measures to prevent COVID-19 infection for the last 50 days, by screening incoming travelers from countries where a COVID-19 outbreak has been reported from January 3, 2020 as no human-to-human transmission was then reported. Members of the public are advised to be assured of the effectiveness of Thailand’s measures. Thailand is among the first countries where incoming airline passengers have been screened for COVID-19 at airports and was the country which found the first infected person outside China.

A national committee on the new virus, chaired by the prime minister, has approved integrated, multilateral cooperation plans for public safety and containment of the COVID-19 spread. The measures to keep the spread of the virus pandemic under control could be implemented in Phase 3, in case of a nationwide outbreak, though the situation is currently in Phase 2. The Ministry of Public Health and relevant agencies have been strictly screening incoming passengers for COVID-19 at airports, sea ports and land border checkpoints with a focus on eight tourist provinces.

Dr Thanarak called on the public to cooperate with authorities, understand the situation and not panic or be misled by fake news, which should not be posted or shared. They are encouraged to follow the advice of the Ministry of Public Health, to prevent themselves from being infected, no matter how long it might remain in the environment. Those who might have a fever, cough, sneezes or a runny nose are advised to wear face masks and see the doctor. The people are advised to stay away from crowded places, wash hands often, avoid touching their face, nose or mouth with the hands which may have touched various objects. People who might be exposed to risk of infection, such as those working closely with tourists, are advised to wear face masks and to see the doctor promptly if they develop a fever, cough, sneeze or have a runny nose.