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Korean soldier tests positive on return from Thailand

Nov 11. 2020
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By The Nation

Health authorities say a South Korean soldier who spent almost a month in Thailand tested positive for Covid-19 on his return to his homeland on Sunday (November 8).

The soldier was among 202 attendees of a planning session for next year’s Cobra Gold military exercise, held in Rayong on November 3-5, said Walairat Chaifu, chief of the Epidemiology Division at the Department of Disease Control (DDC).

Participants comprised 177 Thai soldiers and 25 foreign troops, who were drawn from the United States (12), South Korea (5), Indonesia and Australia (2 each), Singapore, Japan, and India (one each). They stayed at a hotel in Ban Chang District, which hosted their meetings and a buffet meal.

The South Korean soldier tested positive on Sunday after taking a flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Incheon Airport.

He arrived in Thailand on October 17 and spent two weeks at an alternative state quarantine (ASQ) hotel in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit area. He twice tested negative during quarantine.

On November 1, he was picked up by an embassy car and moved to another hotel on Sukhumvit.

On November 2, a van from the embassy picked him up and ferried him to the meeting in Rayong’s Ban Chang.

On November 6, the soldier travelled back in the embassy van to a Sukhumvit hotel – health officials are checking whether this was the same hotel he stayed in previously.

On November 8, the soldier travelled to Suvarnabhumi Airport for the flight back home.

Walairat said the other South Korean soldiers on the same trip had tested negative.

However, Thai soldiers who attended the meeting have been quarantined as a precaution.

Thai health authorities investigating the source of the infection have contacted their counterparts in South Korea to find out whether the soldier caught the virus in Thailand or before he left his own country.

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