Thai government to decide on screening of passengers from other Chinese provinces after Hubei and Wuhan flights were all grounded. For now, Thai authorities are confident that the situation in the kingdom is under control.

The Thai government is meeting on Sunday to discuss the handling of the coronavirus threat from China which has already seen all flights from Wuhan cut off and authorities begin to take drastic action by quarantining 60 million people with growing alarm over the accelerating spread of this viral infection within the already infected areas of the communist country.

The Thai Public Health Minister Antutin Charnvirakul has assured the public that the threat from the Chinese coronavirus is under control as the government met on Sunday to discuss additional measures that may be required. The ministry has confirmed that a Thai woman in Nakhon Pathom who was diagnosed with the illness on January 15th was cleared and sent home last Friday.

The Thai government is meeting on Sunday to review its measures and policies in containing the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Last week, a 5th person in Thailand, a 33-year-old Chinese tourist from Wuhan who had reported at a private hospital, was confirmed with the virus. The patient was transferred into quarantine at Rajavithi Hospital, a public facility.

A Thai woman who was confirmed with the virus in Nakhon Pathom on January 15th last has since been given the all clear and was released on Friday.

World Health Organisation declares an emergency limited to China at the present time

The World Health Organisation this week declared an emergency in relation to the coronavirus but limited it to China where the outbreak has had a devastating effect on this New Year’s celebrations for the Year of the Rat and in many parts of the country where normal activities have been brought to a standstill.

Wuhan and Hubei province fully locked down

A number of cities and provinces are now in lockdown with a reported 60 million people effectively placed in quarantine.

The US consulate in Wuhan has evacuated its staff in an emergency operation as the effects of the virus are still focused on that ravaged city.

The landlocked province of Hubei, which contains Wuhan, has also now been fully locked down.

Thai naval personnel in Wuhan reported safe

In Wuhan, among the millions cut off, are 20 Thai naval officers overseeing the building of Thailand’s first Chinese made new submarine which commenced production last September and is due to be completed by 2023.

The navy has assured the Thai public at home that the officers led by Captain Witthaya Panphoka are all safe and isolated from possible infection.

Suspension of all interprovincial bus travel 

China has also just announced the suspension of all inter-provincial bus services as it attempts to get ahead of the curve associated with the spread of the infection which has begun to rattle authorities.

Flights from Wuhan and other airports grounded

Flights from Wuhan were halted at the end of last week as the city went into lockdown mode. The city had daily flights to Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and Krabi Airport with alternate flights to Chaing Mai.

All flights have been suspended until February 4th at the earliest.

Public Health Minster – the situation is under control

As the government meets, the Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has given an assurance that Thai authorities have the situation under control.

‘Our country can control the situation well. We’ve had patients who are being treated and are improving, many have also gone home,’ he said over the weekend.

Guidance required on screening of air passengers from other Chinese provinces into Thailand

One of the key questions is the nature of future screenings after flights from Wuhan were suspended.

At present, Thailand is not screening arrivals from other Chinese provinces or regions.

Scale of the catastrophe in China widening with experts concerned over the rate of infection

The scale of the epidemic is rising with nearly 1,700 people reported as being infected and 60 deaths from the outbreak. However, western experts suspect the figures being released still downplay the scale of the emergency.

One scientist has described the virus as quite different from the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003 which saw 650 people die in China. He observed that the death rate appears to be 3% whereas with SARS it was 10%.

From the accelerating spread of this infection within China, it appears to be far more infectious and it is feared that it is also more effective at person to person transmission given the pattern of infection seen within the city of Wuhan. 

Further reading:

Thai health officials vigilant as they brace for Chinese New Year tourists as new virus spreads rapidly in China