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Covid-19 Outbreak Jumps to 14 Cases as Chiang Rai-DMK Airline Passenger Tests Positive

Udon Thani loses plot, slaps quarantine on northern returnees

Udon Thani Quarantine Rule Myanmar Returnees Covid Coronavirus

The number of coronavirus cases linked to 10 Thai returnees who skipped quarantined jumped to 14 today after a fellow passenger on one of the reckless woman’s flight tested positive for Covid-19.

Dr. Sophon Iamsirithaworn, Director of the Disease Control Department, confirmed Friday that the 51-year-old Singburi woman tested positive after traveling from Chiang Rai to Bangkok on a Nok Air flight with two women who worked in a bar in Myanmar’s Tachilek Province.

The locally transmitted case is the second in 24 hours stemming from the group of women who crossed the border illegally and spent their next days going to karaoke bars, festivals, shopping malls and airports instead of a quarantine hotel. A 28-year-old transgender bar worker was hospitalized in Chiang Rai after hanging out with one of the women from Phayao.

While Thailand’s public health minister has tried to assure Thais that the outbreak is under control, panic and hysteria are reaching predictable levels, with Udon Thani provincial officials on Friday going full-tilt overreaction by reimposing 14-day quarantines on anyone traveling from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Rumors that those same quarantine rules will be imposed nationwide prompted thousands of cancellations of airline flights from the northern cities, dealing a body body blow to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai tourism ahead of next week’s four-day Father’s Day holiday.

Not only did women, who serviced Burmese customers in Tachilek, predominantly form a bar at the 1G1 Hotel, enter the country illegally, skip quarantine and potentially infect thousands of people to a deadly virus, it turns out they lied to police about their whereabouts, with some claiming they stayed hoe when, in fact, they visited the Farm Festival at Singha Park in Chiang Rai on Nov. 29.

1G1 executives said Friday that 190 Thai women worked there and that 84 have returned home, mostly through illegal crossings.

The Public Health Ministry is urging those who attended the festival that night self-quarantine for 14 days and seek medical care if they develop symptoms.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Thursday that the entire group of bargirls will be prosecuted.

“That should not have happened. The selfishness of a few people troubles many other Thai people. Although immigration is being restricted, the group of people sneaked through the border at will. They violated laws,” Anutin told the media, adding that efforts to reopen the borders to tourism will now be paused until disase-control measures can be reviewed.