Egyptian pilot allowed to leave quarantine tests positive for Covid-19

An Egyptian air force pilot who tested positive for Covid-19 was part of a group allowed to leave quarantine and visit public venues in Rayong, says the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Monday (13 July).

CCSA spokesperson Taweesin Visanuyothin

CCSA spokesperson Taweesin Visanuyothin said that the patient landed at U-Tapao International Airport with 30 other members of the Egyptian Air Force and was allowed to enter the country “under a special exemption” as part of a military mission.

Taweesin said that the group reportedly made brief stops in the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan before their stay in Thailand between 8 – 11 July for a replenishment stop before flying back to Egypt.

The group reportedly stayed at the DVaree Diva Central Rayong Hotel before leaving for a day trip to Chengdu, China on 9 July before returning to spend two more nights in Thailand. Taweesin also said that members of the group left the hotel, where they were supposed to be held in quarantine for 14 days, and went to the Laem Thong Department Store on 10 July from 10.00 – 15.00. Four other members of the group also went to Central Rayong from about 14.00 – 18.00.

The group was tested for Covid-19 on 10 July, but the results came back on 12 July, after they had left the country.

The hotel announced that it will be closed from 14 July onwards for cleaning and disinfection and that hotel employees have to be tested for the virus and quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Khaosod English reported that mobile testing units were dispatched to the Laem Thong Department Store, where the public could take Covid-19 tests for free. Taweesin also said that 394 people who logged visits to the department store on the Thai Chana platform on 10 July will be notified.

The Rayong City Municipality announced that 6 municipal schools and 2 child development centres will be closed from Tuesday (14 July) onwards to prevent the spread of the virus. Taksin Rayong College of Technology and the Mathayom Taksin Rayong School also announced that they will be closed from 14 – 17 July, while Anuban Taksin Rayong International School will be closed from 14 – 18 July.

Taweesin said that the crew had previously been expected to land at Suvarnabhumi Airport, but instead landed at U-Tapao, where he said measures were still lacking. “We apologize for what happened,” he said at today’s press conference. “We will take it as a lesson.”

Meanwhile, a 9-year-old girl who travelled to Bangkok as a member of a Sudanese diplomat’s family also tested positive for Covid-19. Taweesin said that the girl is now being treated at a hospital, while the rest of her family is staying at a condominium in downtown Bangkok.

Taweesin said that the family was tested for Covid-19 before they left Sudan, but tested negative. They show no symptoms when they passed through screening, but the girl tested positive for the virus on 11 July. He also said that the group was allowed entry as they are members of a diplomatic mission and are therefore allowed to either self-quarantine or go into quarantine at a place arranged by their embassy.

According to ThaiPBS, the diplomat and his family did not leave their residence and did not use the condominium’s public space between 10 – 11 July. On 12 July, they moved from the condominium to a residence in the Sudanese Embassy.