Thailand Reports First Omicron Case, Eyes Reinstating Quarantine

Surfing in Phuket, Thailand
Surfing in Phuket, Thailand. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Due to fears about the spread of Omicron, Thailand is considering restoring strict quarantine for foreign visitors, according to the health ministry, which announced the country’s first instance of local transmission of the coronavirus variation on Monday.

According to minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the public health ministry would propose eliminating a quarantine waiver for vaccinated travelers and reverting to hotel quarantine and a “sandbox” scheme, which permits free mobility in specific areas, Reuters reports.

Concerns over the spread of Omicron prompted the idea, according to Anutin, who added that it will be presented to the government’s Covid-19 taskforce “soon.”

Thailand reopened to foreign tourists in November, after nearly 18 months of rigorous entrance regulations contributed to a drop in tourism, a crucial industry and economic driver that drew 40 million people in 2019.

According to Anutin, Thailand has so far detected 63 patients infected with the Omicron variety, with one case of local transmission and the rest imported cases.

According to a health ministry official, the first locally transmitted case was discovered in a Thai woman who tested positive for Omicron after catching the virus from her husband, a Colombian who returned to Thailand from Nigeria in late November.

“She could be the first person in Thailand to contract Omicron from an abroad traveler, her husband, and the first locally transmitted case,” said Chakrarat Pittayawonganon, a Disease Control Department official.

He said that both the husband and the wife were fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The pair had one high-risk contact, a cab driver, who was quarantined pending the results of a second coronavirus test, which was scheduled for Wednesday, according to Chakrarat.

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