Thai authorities confirm first Covid case in 101 days

Bangkok, Sep 3 (efe-epa).- Thailand has detected its first locally transmitted Covid-19 case in 101 days, health authorities said Thursday.

The director for the country’s center of disease control, Walairat Chaifoo, said the virus had been detected in a 37-year-old man who was sent to prison last week. He has since been transferred to the prison’s hospital ward.

The patient earned a living as a DJ and before his incarceration lived with five members of his family in a Bangkok apartment, Chaifoo added.

Health authorities have tracked down people he has recently been in contact with and ordered them to observe a period of quarantine.

They also conducted tests on 34 prisoners who were isolated when they entered jail with the patient last week before joining the general population. All of the tests came back negative, the epidemiologist said.

Thailand, a country of 70 million, was the first country outside China — the presumed origin of the virus — to detect Covid-19 early this year. It has since fared better than many of its Southeast Asian neighbors, keeping its caseload down to 3,428 and reporting just 58 deaths.

Indonesia has logged a total of 178,000 cases while the Philippines has detected some 224,000 despite implementing a severe lockdown, especially in the capital Manila.

The Thai government rolled out strict measures in March, limiting the movement of people, implementing a nightly curfew, closing its borders and making mask-use obligatory in public.

The restrictions, particularly the border closures, have severely damaged the Thai economy, which officially entered a recession in the second quarter of 2020 when it shed 12.2 percent of its GDP.

Thailand is heavily reliant on foreign tourists, having welcomed a record 39.8 million visitors from abroad last year.

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