Thailand, a year on from the first coronavirus case outside China

By Gaspar Ruiz-Canela

Bangkok, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- One year ago, Thailand became the first country aside from China to detect a case of Covid-19 — a time when the world was oblivious to the destruction the ensuing global pandemic would entail.

Thailand has since managed to weather the storm considerably better than much of the international community.

Authorities in the Southeast Asian country have kept the outbreak under control through a mixture of good luck, with mask-use already common and physical contact rare in society, and tough measures such as airport checks.

Taweesap Sirapraphasiri, one of the politicians in charge of Thailand’s response to the pandemic in Thailand, on Tuesday said that the government had limited activities that could help spread the virus since the beginning of the outbreak.

“We have also asked for people to cooperate by wearing masks and washing hands,” the expert from the country’s department for disease control said during a daily press conference.

Thailand’s overall caseload stands at just 10,547 and there have been a total of 67-related deaths in the country, figures that are far behind the daily toll logged in many European and North American countries.

Back in January 2020, the confirmation of the first case outside of China posed a severe challenge for Thailand, which at that time of year welcomes tens of thousands of Chinese tourists.

One such tourist, a 61-year-old woman, had a fever upon arrival at Bangkok’s international airport from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus is first thought to have emerged.

Her temperature was picked up by screening in arrivals and she was hospitalized. She then tested positive for Covid-19 on 12 January, thus becoming the first case outside of China.

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