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Antibodies, Not Coronavirus, Found in 2 Local Cases, Leaving Thailand’s Covid-Free Streak Intact

UPDATE: Wildly off-base government report that infected Thais found outside quarantine sets off virus panic

Thailand Coronavirus body temperature scan airport

Updated 9 p.m. – Thailand’s streak of 86 days without a locally transmitted base of Covid-19 apparently will continue unbroken after a coronavirus scare Wednesday that turned out Covid-19 antibodies than the actual virus.

Alarm bells went off this afternoon when the government-enterprise National News Bureau said that a Thai returnee released from quarantined was admitted to a Samut Prakan hospital with Covid-19 symptoms. As is too often the case with initial government reports, it missed the mark wildly.

A fuller, although still imprecise, explanation was offered this evening at a Public Health Ministry news conference.

In fact, there are Thai two women, not one man, at the center of the controversy. Both had returned to Thailand after working in the United Arab Emirates, the first on June 2 and the second on June 24.

Both went through state quarantine. During that time, one tested negative while the second woman tested positive for “traces” of the coronavirus, but was asymptomatic. “Traces” is an vague, unscientific term and the ministry did not elaborate on what that mean.

Being “a little” infected with the coronavirus is like being “a little” pregnant. You either are or aren’t.

The bottom line, however, was that both women were deemed virus-free and healthy enough to return home to Chaiyaphum and Loei, respectively.

Fast-forward to this week and both women are ready to head back to work in the UAE and had to obtain health certificates. While doing so, they both tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, which showed they had both been exposed to the virus at some point over the past two-to-three months.

For one woman, that would seem pretty obvious, as one had tested positive for the virus while in quarantine. The mystery is where and when the second woman was exposed.

Both women were admitted to Ramathibodi Chakri Naruebodindra Hospital for new RT-PCR Covid-19 testing and isolation while those in close contact with the pair will be tested as well.

Ministry officials said tonight that there is a very small chance that the virus spread locally and that both likely were exposed in the UAE or while in quarantine. Again, pretty obvious for at least one of them.

If it somehow is confirmed they were exposed to the virus in Thailand, it would be the first evidence of local spread of the outside state quarantine in 86 days.

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Wednesday reported one new case found in quarantine, a 37-year-old Thail masseuse who returned from India on Aug. 8.

She was on the same flight with 18 previously confirmed cases.