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By Linda Khoo
BANGKOK, Feb 4 -- Thailand today confirmed six new cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), bringing the tally to 25 cases including one in serious condition.
Director-general of the Disease Control Department, Suwanchai Watthanatingcharoen said the six new patients comprised four Thais – a couple who recently returned from a trip to Japan and two hire-car drivers who picked up China tourists in Hua Hin, and another two China tourists.
He said it was not clear where the Thai couple contracted the virus.
“A 70-year-old Thai, a tuberculosis (TB) patient diagnosed with coronavirus infection, is in serious condition when transferred from a private hospital to Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute.
“We are closely monitoring the patient’s condition. We are finding the best treatment for the patient,” he said at a media conference, here, today.
Currently, there are 25 confirmed coronavirus cases in Thailand of whom 19 are China nationals and six Thais. Seventeen remain in hospitals while the other eight have been discharged and have returned home.
Last Friday, Thailand confirmed its first case of human-to-human transmission when a taxi driver tested positive.
Earlier, a 42-year-old South Korean woman had tested positive for coronavirus after visiting Thailand.
Suwanchai said the Public Health Ministry was unsure of where the patient caught the virus.
“We are coordinating with the relevant Korean authority while waiting for further lab test results,” he said.
The media reported that the woman who returned to South Korea from Thailand on Jan 19 had shown symptoms for the infection six days later.
Meanwhile, a total of 142 Thais in Hubei Province including its capital Wuhan are expected to arrive at U-Tapao Airport, located about 150 km southeast of the Thai capital, at 8.30 pm (local time) today.
They will be examined and quarantined for 14 days before being allowed to return home.
Meanwhile, a Thai AirAsia chartered flight carrying 138 Thais from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, arrived at U-Tapao International Airport in Rayong at 8.30 pm (local time).
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Chanvirakul, who was present at the airport, said three Thais were denied permission to board on the first evacuation flight out of Wuhan.
“Two students were not allowed to board because their body temperature was higher than 37.3 degrees Celsius. Another Thai man was denied permission to board as he had overstayed for seven months,” he told the media tonight.
He added that the two students would be quarantined for 14 days at their living quarters in Wuhan and the relevant authorities would take care of them.
The Thais who returned from Wuhan tonight will have to undergo health screening at the airport and will be quarantined for 14 days at a navy-operated hotel at Sattahip Naval Base in Chon Buri before they are allowed to return home.
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