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17 Returnees to Thailand Test Positive for Covid-19 Coronavirus

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Thailand Covid-19 coronavirus, Thailand

Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) reported on Friday there were 17 new Coronavirus cases in state quarantine over a 24-hour period. Friday was also the 81st day without any domestic Covid-19 cases since May.

Of the new cases, one had returned from the United States, 15 from India and one from Australia.

Meanwhile, four patients have recovered and discharged, the Nation reported.

As of August 14, the total number of confirmed cases in the country stood at 3,376 (439 in state quarantine) — 145 are under treatment, 3,173 have recovered and been discharged, and there have been 58 deaths.

Globally, the total number of confirmed cases reached 21 million, up by 274,000 on Thursday, of whom 13.9 million have recovered while deaths stood at 753,000. Thailand ranks at 114th among countries for number of cases. The US has the highest number (5.41 million), followed by Brazil (3.22 million) and India ( 2.4 million).

Thailandwarned over mutation of coronavirus

A Thai neurologist has warned that Thailand should begin preparing for possible “genetic code mutations” of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.  Prof. Thiravat Hemachudha, director of the Health Science Centre of Emerging Diseases at Chulalongkorn University, warned over the possible mutation of the virus.

Prof. Thiravat cited findings from recent studies in Vietnam and China on coronavirus strains in horseshoe bats, which inhabit Southeast Asian countries including Thailand.

The same species of horseshoe bats found living in China and Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia also inhabits Thailand and the evolution of the coronavirus was detected consistently in previous studies, he said.

“So we have to prepare to deal also with other possible new strains of the coronavirus that include the 2019 novel coronavirus [that causes Covid-19]. Which is likely to undergo multiple genetic code mutations,” he said.

Such radical changes in the genetic code of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 may result in current techniques used in screening for the virus no longer working, he said.

Horseshoe bats in Vietnam and China

Findings from studies conducted into coronavirus strains in horseshoe bats in Vietnam and China have revealed that it was the wild animal-eating habits of humans that made them vulnerable to being infected with the coronavirus in bats that has evolved to also infect humans now, he said.

These findings also undermine a suggested theory that the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 may have escaped from a biological weapons testing laboratory, he said. Some have blamed China for the lab leak.

In related news, the cabinet has yet to approve a proposal for the government to spend 600 million baht to fund cooperation on Covid-19 vaccine development between Thailand and Oxford University and a vaccine research company in the UK, said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. The budget will be spent in part in developing a vaccine factory in Thailand, he said.

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