4 Thais from Wuhan remain in hospital

Satit Pitutecha, the Deputy Minister of Public Health, at the press conference saying that four Thais from Wuhan remain in a hospital. Source: Thai Rath Online

Deputy Minister of Public Health Satit Pitutecha held a press conference today saying that four Thais from Wuhan remain in Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital, Sattahip. Three of them must have chest x-rays, and one still has diarrhoea. They are among 6 Thai evacuees who had high fevers last night when they arrived in Thailand.

Satit has confirmed that the four Thais show no signs of coronavirus infection, but their condition will be monitored. Meanwhile, the other two have left the hospital to join other 132 Thais in quarantine for 14 days at Sattahip Naval Base in Chonburi before they can go home. They will also be monitored by psychiatrists to ensure their mental health.

Satit asked the media to call these evacuees “Thais who returned home.” On Tuesday at 8.30 pm., a flight of 138 Thais from Wuhan arrived at U-Tapao Airport, Rayong. All expenses were covered by Air Asia, the only airline that provides a Bangkok-Wuhan service. The evacuation team which arrived in Wuhan included 15 doctors, nurses and other officials.

Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, did not join the flight because he said his presence might obstruct the work of the evacuation team. The actual number of passengers was supposed to be 141, but two could not return due to high fever and another had overstayed their visa, according to the Chinese authorities. Anutin insisted the two Thais were not ill, but said he had to respect the decision of the Chinese authorities.

Don Pramudwinai, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who will soon be the target of a no-confidence motion, said before the operation that the number was not certain because of difficulties in coordinating a meeting of the Thais in Wuhan before the flight. However, he received a report saying that 144 Thais had asked to return to Thailand. Others said they wanted to stay in China or planned to return by themselves.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health has revealed six more cases of coronavirus in Thailand. So far there have been 25 cases in total. The first case of local transmission was identified in a taxi driver. Eight of them have been cured, and no fatalities have been reported.

On Monday, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister of Thailand (also a target of the no-confidence motion), asked for the Thai people not to panic as the level of alertness is only at 1-2 and the situation is under control. He also warned that fake news and hate speech are also diseases and people who spread them will be prosecuted.

Recently, the government rejected a proposal by Anutin to suspend visas on arrival for Chinese tourists in the hope of halting the spread of the coronavirus.  According to official data, 10.9 million tourists from mainland China last year accounted for at least 426 billion baht in tourism revenue.