HUA HIN – British National Miss Kerry Newman, 30, has been quarantined in Hua Hin, Thailand after sitting behind someone on a plane who was supposedly carrying the deadly Mers virus.
Kerry Sue Newman flew to southeast Asia earlier this month but is now being kept in a solitary hospital room in the seaside district of Hua Hin for two weeks, some 6,000 miles from home.
Miss Newman, was told by Thai authorities she had to be quarantined and was transported by ambulance from the Por Promin Muay camp she was staying at to the hospital.
Thailand is currently on high alert as cases of the potentially fatal Middle East respiratory syndrome, known as MERS, have been reported in neighboring countries.
An outbreak in the region has killed a total of 27 people and is mainly focused in South Korea, which has 175 confirmed cases.
A total of 2,805 people have been placed in isolation and more than 2,000 schools have been forced to closed.
Thailand had its first confirmed case of MERS last week in a 75-year-old man from the country of Oman who had travelled to Bangkok for treatment for a heart condition.
Miss Newman, a jeweler from Brighton, East Sussex, had been sat just two rows behind this man after her plane from Heathrow made a stopover in Oman before arriving in Thailand at the weekend.
Miss Newman said: ‘The first night was somewhat traumatic as I realized I was practically trapped in this one room that is virtually like a cell. Yet I have done absolutely nothing wrong to be locked up and imprisoned like this.
There is also a camera in my room so I am being watched, I feel like I am in some sort of strange Thai style Big Brother.
Once I relaxed and realised that this is for the good of the rest of Thailand, and in fact the rest of the world, everything became a lot easier.
Miss Newman had taken a six month sabbatical to work and train at a martial arts camp in Thailand but will have to remain in quarantine until June 29 as the virus has a two week incubation period.
Mers is a flu-like condition with symptoms similar to SARs, and its first recorded case in a human was reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
It can cause symptoms such as fever, coughing, breathing difficulties, chest pains, nausea, headaches and pneumonia.
Miss Newman stated that when the authorities came to collect her, she thought they were kidding and could not quite believe her bad luck.
She was originally scheduled to fly on June 6 but had to change her flight to the 15th – so it is just sod’s law that she was on this flight with this man.
I see it as fate she said, I am clearly supposed to be in isolation for ten days for whatever reason.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said they are aware of Miss Newman’s case.
Dr Richard Pebody of Public Health England said: Although any transmission risk is very small, as a precaution, we contact UK passengers on a plane who are in the vicinity of a case to follow-up, provide information and reassurance.
Despite being quarantined, Miss Newman remains upbeat about her situation and on her first evening in the hospital went looking for a beer to help her relax.
But she said she was caught in the act whilst trying to leave, and had to make up some story about needing milk in order to help me sleep.
She has contacted her family in the UK and said: ‘My family were worried initially but I explained the situation and the embassy has also contacted them, so they are fine. In fact my dad laughed and said ‘it’s about time they locked you up.
Whilst in quarantine I have been doing yoga and I am also practicing Qi Gong and meditation. I’ve been dancing in my room to stay active.
Apparently the risk is not that high, as I am a fit, healthy woman in my prime, and the disease tends to attack the elderly, and those with a weak immune system.
They found me very quickly and have been looking after my every need.
They installed a television into my room without me even asking, plus supplying me with lots of fresh fruit and good vegetarian food, plenty of fluids, including juices and lots of milk – basically I am on an involuntary detox.