First case of Covid-19 mutated virus from Africa found in state quarantine facility
The Department of Disease Control (DDC) has found one patient infected with the South Africa Covid-19 strain in state quarantine facility.
The Thai male had travelled to Tanzania and Ethiopia before returning to Thailand.
Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of DDC, said on Sunday this was the first case found in Thailand. The 41-year-old Thai patient has an asthmatic congenital disease, high blood pressure, and is overweight, he said.
According to his travel history, he had spent two months working in Tanzania to buy gemstones and said that people in that area rarely wore face masks.
On January 29, the patient arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport after visiting Ethiopia and was quarantined in a state facility. On February 3, a positive Covid-19 test result was found and delivered a genetic transcription test sample since he was travelling from Africa. On February 12, the results were found to be a South African species.
"I assure that the South African species, found in state quarantine, hasn’t spread to any community." Dr Opas said.
Guidelines for screening people coming from countries with South African mutated virus have been adjusted to be more sensitive, such as collecting samples immediately upon arrival in Thailand, screening and sending people with symptoms and history of risk to the hospital. There is also a system to monitor new species before travellers leave the hospital. The strict screening will help prevent this species from spreading to the community.
Dr Opas said that the world now had an eye on the South African strain of Covid-19. However, there were no other strains found to make the symptoms more severe. In Thailand, it was found that the strains that spread in the country were a G species which does not have more severe symptoms, but it spreads more easily compared to other species.