BANGKOK: Thailand announced 3 more cases on Tuesday bringing the total number infected to 53. The government, unlike European ministries such as Italy, France, Germany and the UK has so far contained the virus even with its proximity to the epicentre.

Thailand has confirmed three new cases of the Covid 19 coronavirus, all linked with the Italian outbreak. On Monday, the kingdom announced an even more stringent measure to protect the public against passengers from the 6 countries and territories announced last week as high-risk zones. The new regulation is being enforced through the civil aviation authority and airlines. It means that all passengers from these countries must now produce medical certification as to their good health before boarding a plane for Thailand. The quarantine and reporting provisions announced last week still apply.

The new regulation requiring medical certificates from passengers originating in high-risk countries was announced on Monday by Thailand’s Minister of Transport Saksayam Chidchob whose Bhumjaithai Party colleague, the Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul, last week introduced high-risk zone designation from Italy, Iran, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thailand on Tuesday announced three more cases of coronavirus infection bringing its total number to 53.

They include a husband and wife pair. The couple from Nakhon Phanom were both infected when the 46-year-old wife infected her 47-year-old husband after her return from a trip to Italy.

The other case involved a 41-year woman who was infected by an earlier case involving a Thai man also returning from Italy.

The news comes as Thai authorities confirm that most of the 80 or so returning Thai migrant workers who absconded on Saturday night after officials informed them on arrival in Bangkok that they were to be detained, have already surrendered.

They are being cared for by local authorities near their homes. Earlier, a reward had been offered for their apprehension. Their condition is now being closely monitored by local officials.

53 cases so far, 33 released from hospital

The infection cases announced today brings Thailand’s total number of infections to 53, 33 of whom have already been cured and released from hospital while 19 are still receiving medical treatment. One person, a 35-year-old sales representative, has died.

All held from South Korea so far have tested negative

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has also reported that out of nearly 200 people quarantined and held at Sattahip naval base in Chonburi, none have so far tested positive for the coronavirus which is encouraging.

A number of them, including children and pregnant women, require some medical attention but all are reported to be healthy.

Qatar blacklists travellers from Thailand but not Italy

On Sunday, Qatar included Thailand in a list of 14 countries from where passengers are barred from entering the emirate until further notice.

The list also includes India where infection numbers are still reported to be relatively low while excluding Italy which is now the second most infected country outside of China and where the virus has had a particularly high mortality rate, running at close to 5%.

Italy has now become the first country in the world to lock down its entire population in response to the epidemic.

Qatar itself has reported only 15 cases so far.

81-year-old Australian tests positive for the virus in Queensland after returning from Thailand 

In Australia last week, an 81-year-old Australian man, who had just returned from Thailand, tested positive for the disease. The man is being treated at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital in Queensland while an Indian man from New Delhi was one of those who tested positive in India having previously travelled to Thailand.

Thailand, last week, announced it was increasing the number of tests being conducted for the disease but so far, it remains contained in the kingdom and Thai authorities still retain the ability to trace those coming into contact with a confirmed case.

Virility of the outbreak in Europe has caught the world off guard and spread financial contagion

The virility of the disease spread in Italy and other European countries such as Germany and France as well as the United Kingdom is remarkable and is contributing to the worldwide financial panic and disruption of the world’s economy.

The fear now is that the ongoing crisis may spark a credit crunch and associated risks to the financial system even as governments announce emergency stimulus measures.

The ability of central banks to respond to this crisis is now somewhat limited unlike during the last financial emergency.

Thailand tightens regulations for inbound passengers from high-risk countries and territories

On Monday, Thailand moved to tighten further its protection measures against the virus in respect of the countries listed on Thursday as high-risk zones. These are China, Italy, Iran, South Korea as well as the territories of Hong Kong and Macao.

The new move was announced by Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob and applies to all airlines through instructions given to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

Passengers need a medical cert to board flights

The regulation means that any passenger from these 6 jurisdictions must present a medical certificate of good health to the relevant airline before boarding a flight for Thailand.

Passengers will still be required to self-quarantine for 14 days once they arrive in the kingdom.

The minister made it clear that anyone who fails to produce the relevant documentation will not be allowed board a flight for Thailand.

The measures announced are allowed for under the Communicable Disease Act of 2015.

Legal action to be taken over fake documents

The minister also warned any person tendering fake documentation or certificates will face legal action by Thai authorities as well as being quarantined once they land in Thailand.

Mr Saksayam also assured the Thai public that stricter and more intensive screening procedures were now in place at Thai airports.

Further reading:

Thailand ramps up its screening, quarantine and reporting measures for high-risk country arrivals

14 days quarantine confirmed for all passengers from high risk listed countries and now in place with fines

Quarantine for high-risk country passengers still pondered with 4 new cases from Italy and Iran

Government to use disease control areas for returning Thais from South Korea with symptoms of the virus

Strong indications that Thailand will introduce high-risk zones and mandatory quarantine orders