Officials from the Ministry of Health have confirmed 37 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country as of 11:00 (local time) on Wednesday, February 25. Authorities said that 1160 individuals have been discharged or recovered, while 1580 people are under investigation as of Wednesday. Health officials are contacting individuals that have come in close contact with infected patients, and placing anyone with a fever in quarantine.
On Monday, February 23, authorities classified COVID-19 as a "dangerous communicable disease," allowing health officials and police more authority to quarantine individuals showing symptoms or individuals having traveled from areas of concern. The government considers risk areas to include Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and eight Thai provinces: Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Krabi, Phuket, Chon Buri, and Prachuap Khiri Khan. Increased screening measures are in place as of Tuesday in all airports, ports, border crossing points, immigration offices, and in some hospitals and communities.
As of Wednesday, officials have not recorded any coronavirus-related fatalities in Thailand. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in more than 30 countries and territories worldwide. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
- If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
- Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments
In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.