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Missing Tourist Infected with Delta Variant Surrenders to Police

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An Israeli tourist who left his hotel in Bangkok without waiting for his Covid-19 test result, which later tested positive, has surrendered to police on the resort island Koh Samui.

His first destination was Pattaya, but he later travelled south to Koh Samui, a popular holiday destination.

Earlier this afternoon, 29-year-old Ohad Baruch turned himself into local health authorities. Mr Baruch was met by Theerapong Chuaychoo, a district chief, senior police officers and health officials around 12:30 pm at the Samui Piar Bangrak restaurant.

Earlier, he had contacted authorities and told them that he wanted to surrender himself to quarantine. He was then transported to Koh Samui Hospital by ambulance for Covid-19 testing. He was escorted by health volunteers.

Niwet Saksri, assistant chief of Koh Samui public health office, told reporters the search had begun Wednesday morning after it was learned that the tourist had travelled to the island.

Their search for him led them to a local restaurant, where he successfully coordinated the arrest of the man.

Pol Col Krissana Pattanacharoen, a deputy police spokesman, said that police sought an arrest warrant for the man on Wednesday afternoon.

It was reported in the media that Bangkok police had been informed by Tourist Police that the tourist had contacted the Israeli Embassy and said he would surrender to police on the resort island of Koh Samui.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Bureau said the Israeli tourist was infected with the Delta variant, not the Omicron variant.

Read: What Distinguishes the Traveller from the Tourist?

Upon his arrival in Thailand on December 17, the Israeli tourist was quarantined at a hotel in the Sukhumvit area while he awaited his RT PCR result for Covid-19.

The following day, he left the hotel without waiting for the results and took a taxi to Pattaya around 2 pm. On the same day, the hotel was informed that the man’s RT PRC test results were positive. Police were notified of the man’s absence by the Bangkok quarantine hotel Staff.

It was reported that the tourist tried to check-in at a hotel in Pattaya but failed to produce his passport, so the hotel rejected him.

The Bangkok Post reported that the man had travelled to Pattaya from Bangkok in a taxi driven by Nit Kaosaeng, from in front of the Emporium department store, and paid 2,500 baht for the trip.

He hired a van and rented a car to drive to the southern provinces, according to immigration officials. It was reported that he was in Chumphon on Monday morning before he left for Koh Samui in Surat Thani in the afternoon.

The team tracing the missing tourist was headed by Pol Lt Gen Archayon Kraithong, deputy commissioner of the Immigration Bureau.  At 10:30 pm on Dec 18, the police checked his phone use record and found that he had turned off his phone.

In violation of Thailand’s emergency decree, the police asked the Department of Disease Control to file a legal complaint against the tourist for failing to follow disease control measures.

A maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or a fine of 40,000 baht is imposed for the offence.

As a foreign national, the Israeli tourist is also charged with failing to stay in a place he was permitted to stay while in the country. Defendants can be fined up to 5,000 baht for the offence.

Thais are suspected of helping the Israeli tourist, police believe.

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