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Out-of-Control Coronavirus in U.S. Sending More Thais Home with Virus

2 More Returned Soldiers, 3 Monks in L.A. Hospitalized

Thai Monk Los Angeles California Temple
A Thai monk prays at Wat Thai Los Angeles in North Hollywood (Photo: Ken Lee)

As the coronavirus continues to spiral out of control in the United States, Thais escaping the world’s sorriest coronavirus hot spot increasingly are coming home infected.

Two more soldiers who returned last week from a training exercise in in Hawaii have now tested positive for the virus, joining six others who tested positive upon arrival July 22.

The soldiers supposedly were in semi-quarantine, confined to barracks while not training. The military is now investigating the lapses that allowed so many conscripts to be infected.

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration said Tuesday that Thailand now has 3,297 official Covid-19 cases, 3,111 of whom have recovered and 58 who died.

The soldiers, ages 22 and 25, tested positive while in quarantine at the Ambassador City Hotel in Pattaya and have been admitted to a hospital in Bangkok. Both became sick on July 24.

Thais in America Infected

The new cases emerged as reports of three more Thais – all Buddhist monks – have tested positive for Covid-19 in Los Angeles. Two have been hospitalized, while the third is in quarantine at Wat Thai Los Angeles in North Hollywood, the Thai consulate in Los Angeles said.

The consulate said it is unknown how the monks became infected as they did not leave the temple to receive alms. All Southern California temples have been given personal protective equipment.

However, the consulate noted, Phra Khru Vichitboonsarn, former abbot of Wat Buddhapavana died on July 11 due to complications from Covid-19. The temple was torched last year by arsonists.

Thais returning from the U.S. with the coronavirus are increasingly common. A teenage girl and 23-year-old man tested positive on July 25, Another returnee from the U.S. was reported as having the virus on July 22.

Of course, Thailand’s first coronavirus death outside the country was in America – a 66-year-old woman who was the head chef at a Washington, D.C. restaurant. She died March 21.

As of Monday, the U.S. had reported 4.38 million cases of Covid-19 and 150,000 deaths. Cases are increasing in all but two of America’s 50 states, many of which yet to have imposed mandatory mask usage and have continued to reopen businesses even as cases continue to rise.