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By Linda Khoo
BANGKOK, 2 Feb -- Thailand is set to evacuate its citizens stranded in Wuhan, the epicentre of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, on Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Chanvirakul said eight medical officers including doctors, epidemiologist, psychiatrist and nurses would be onboard the AirAsia Thailand plane to monitor their health.
“Upon their return, they will be examined and quarantined for 14 days before they allowed to return home,” he told a media conference here today.
So far, 106 Thais in Wuhan and 161 in Hubei province have been identified with about 140 of them have registered to return to home.
Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is coordinating with the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing and Thai consulate in Wuhan to secure a passage home for its citizens wanting to return.
The Ministry of Public Health will be responsible for taking care of all officers’ health, both accompanying airport staff and Thais living in Wuhan with the highest international standards on screening, disease prevention and control to ensure the safety of all people after returning from China.
Anutin said all returning Thais would be screened to ensure they were symptom-free before boarding the plane for home.
“At least three locations have been identified as a quarantine centre and Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan o-cha will decide on the final location,” he said.
At present, there are 19 confirmed 2019 novel coronavirus cases in Thailand, including two locals with the first human-to-human transmission reported on Jan 31 where a taxi driver became the first patient to contract the infection inside the kingdom.
So far eight of the patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals with a statement from the Public Health Ministry saying from 3 Jan to 1 Feb the total number of patients under investigation (PUI) rose to 382 people.
It said most of the PUI were infected with seasonal influenza, and 311 PUI cases were admitted at hospitals.
Director of the Division of Communicable Diseases Dr Sopon Lamsirithaworn said there has been no report of new cases and one of the confirmed cases of novel coronavirus has recovered and discharged from hospital.
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