252 African tourists at low risk of spreading Omicron variant, says DDC
The 252 tourists from southern African countries, who entered Thailand between November 27 and 30, are fully vaccinated and are at low risk of transmitting the Omicron variant, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) said on Thursday.
“These travellers will be quarantined for 14 days and will undergo RT-PCR tests to confirm they are completely free of Covid-19,” said Dr Chawetsan Namwat, director of the DDC's emergency disease and health hazards control division.
“They had entered Thailand under the Phuket Sandbox programme and their RT-PCR tests taken 72 hours before arrival and upon arrival have all returned negative results.”
The Public Health Ministry had announced last week that flights from eight African countries will be banned from December 1 in a bid to prevent the spread of a new, more easily transmissible variant of Covid-19. These countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
South African reported the variant to the World Health Organisation on November 24.
The DDC also said that Omicron cases have been reported in 30 countries so far, including South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Eswatini, Lesotho, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Israel, Austria, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland, Denmark and Australia.
“Most cases in these countries were brought in by international travellers,” he said. “Though no Omicron cases have been reported in Thailand yet, DDC and other related agencies will monitor the situation closely and keep the public updated regularly.”