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Foreign Tourist Test Positive for Omicron in Northern Thailand

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Health Authorities in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai province told a press briefing yesterday that the two foreign travellers had tested positive for the Omicron variant.

The two tourists a German and a British national arrived in Thailand under the quarantine-free, Test & Go program, through Suvarnabhumi airport.

The 22-year-old German tourist arrived in Bangkok on December 17 and took Thai Lion Air flight SL510 to Chiang Mai on December 20. He successfully passed an RT-PCR test after arriving in Bangkok.

On Dec 21, he stayed at a condominium in the Chang Klan district of Chiang Mai, then travelled to the Mae Wang district to embark on a jungle trip. Upon return, he felt exhausted. The following day he took a Covid-19 test at the Bangkok Hospital in Chiang Mai that tested positive for the Omicron Variant of Covid-19.

The Bangkok Hospital sent his sample to a lab at the Medical Sciences Centre in Chiang Mai and the result “potentially matched the B.1.1.529 Omicron strain”, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Control office.

As a result of close contact with the German tourists, Chiang Mai governor Prajon Pratsakul said 18 people have been labelled a high-risk group. He said of the 18 people 13 were passengers that sat close to him on the Thai Lion Air flight SL510 .

Health Authorities Fight to Contain Omicron Variant in Thailand

Health officials report that four passengers and a taxi driver have already been tested and their results were negative. Officials were waiting for the test results of the eight others, he added.

The other Omicron variant case involved a 64-year-old British tourist who arrived in Bangkok on Dec 18 and passed his initial RT-PRC test.

He travelled to Chiang Mai the next day on THAI Smile flight WE110. He stayed at a rented house in the San Sai district of Chiang Mai. The governor said he took a rapid antigen test on Dec 24 and the result was positive.

Following the confirmation of a positive result, the Briton travelled to Chiang Mai’s Doi Saket Hospital to take an RT-PCR test. The test confirmed he had the Omicron Variant.

Health authorities were waiting for a friend’s test results after two other friends’ tests came back negative. Searches are also being conducted for the taxi driver and passengers who sat near him on the plane.

Dr Saowanee Wiboonsanti, director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Control, said preliminary tests indicated that both German and Briton had been infected by the Omicron strain.

Both samples were sent to a laboratory of the Department of Medical Services in Bangkok for confirmation. Results were expected by Tuesday, said Dr Waranyu Chamnongprasart, the deputy provincial health chief.

Health authorities have since notified all the people in the high-risk groups to cancel all activities, submit to RT-PCR testing, and stay at home for 14 days.

As of Sunday, Chiang Mai had 281,70 infections, making it the country’s largest outbreak since April began.

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