The bombshell news may have implications for efforts to reopen the country to tourism although Thai officials are investigating whether the woman contracted the virus in Thailand after being released from state quarantine.
A French woman tested positive for the Covid-19 virus at a hospital on Ko Samui this week, six days after being released from state quarantine, having arrived in the kingdom at the end of last month.
Thailand’s efforts to reopen its tourist industry through controlled access may have suffered a setback after it was announced on Friday that a 57-year-old French woman had tested positive for Covid-19 on the holiday island of Ko Samui.
The news has been confirmed by Dr Sophon Iamsirithaworn who is the Director of the Bureau of General Communicable Diseases.
The case was revealed at a press conference on Friday.
French woman arrived in Thailand at the end of September with a certificate of entry
Dr Sophon revealed that the woman had arrived in Thailand at the end of September with a certificate of entry from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and had been placed in quarantine in Samut Prakan near Bangkok under the Alternative State Quarantine scheme.
He said the woman had displayed symptoms of the disease 5 days after leaving quarantine during which she was tested twice with confirmed negative results.
The woman had arrived in Thailand with her husband and child. Both have been tested following the woman’s positive test and have been found to be clear of the disease at this time.
Authorities attempting to trace up to 15 people
Authorities are now reported to be investigating up to 15 other people with whom the woman has been in close contact as they attempt to prevent an outbreak.
The woman and her family had arrived in Thailand on September 30th and the family was released from quarantine on October 15th when they travelled to Ko Samui.
The woman had flown to Thailand on a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok and on the 15th of October had flown via Bangkok Airways to Ko Samui after first visiting the French embassy in the capital.
Among those being checked are 10 tourists believed to have been on the Bangkok Airways flight to Ko Samui as well as two crew members.
Woman and her husband have a home on Ko Samui
Officials have pointed out that the woman had been complying with instructions after finishing the state quarantine programme was wearing a face mask, at all times, in public.
It is understood that the woman and her family have a home on the island.
Dr Veerasak Lorthongkham of Ko Samui Hospital has disclosed that the French woman’s husband and son are also being monitored at that hospital, where she is now being treated, as the investigation into the case intensifies.
Admitted to hospital on Ko Samui on October 17th with a fever and tested positive 4 days later
The French woman was admitted to Bangkok Hospital Samui on the 20th of October on Ko Samui with complaining of a fever and 4 days later, on Wednesday, October 21st, tested positive for the virus. She travelled to the medical facility by private car.
Initial tests at the hospital found that the woman did not have a fever but a temperature of 36.2 degrees before a sample as taken for the Covid-19 test.
It is reported that the woman was discharged from the hospital on the 21st October before the test result came back positive on the 22nd when the patient was isolated at Ko Samui Hospital.
Authorities investigating the case are not ruling out that the woman may have contracted the virus while in Thailand after being released from quarantine.
An alternative proposition is that the tests in state quarantine were flawed or that the incubation period of the disease was longer than 14 days.
The case may have implications for plans being mooted by Thai officials to reduce the period of state quarantine or even the expansion of the quarantine system altogether to facilitate greater access to the kingdom.