Thailand finds second COVID-19 infection after long absence

Thailand finds second COVID-19 infection after long absence

Medical workers take care of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in the ICU room in Bangkok
FILE PHOTO: Doctors and ICU nurses wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) perform a CT scan for a COVID-19 patient at the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, Apr 23, 2020. (REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha)

BANGKOK: Thai health authorities on Friday (Sep 11) confirmed another coronavirus infection had been detected in the country, in an Uzbek professional football player, eight days after the virus resurfaced following a more than three-month absence.

The man was positive after a mandatory pre-match test on Tuesday, despite having completed quarantine on Aug 27 after three prior negative tests, health officials told a news conference. The man, 29, arrived in Thailand on Aug 13.

Yong Poovorawan, a virology expert from Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, said the virus incubation period in the man would have been longer than 14 days and it was unlikely to have been domestically transmitted.

"I believe he was infected abroad," Yong said.

READ: Thailand tightens border surveillance as Myanmar COVID-19 infections rise

By sealing off the country to all but returning Thai nationals and approved foreigners, and requiring all arrivals to quarantine, Thailand has kept coronavirus cases to just 3,461, the vast majority of which have recovered. The country has reported 58 deaths.

It had been more than 100 days without a domestic infection until a mysterious case appeared in Bangkok last week, with no travel history or known exposure to the virus.

READ: New COVID-19 cases knock hopes of reviving Southeast Asia's holiday hotspots

Authorities have since tested hundreds of people who may have come in contact with the man, a DJ who was recently imprisoned.

There were 43 other people potentially exposed to the Uzbek soccer player but all had tested negative for the virus and were undergoing quarantine, said Sophon Iamsirithaworn, director of Bureau of General Communicable Diseases, adding 27 more individuals would be tested.

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Source: Reuters/kv