Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Thailand Situation Report – 21 February 2020

Today, 21 February 2020, the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand announced that 99 more people were added to the list of Persons Under Investigation, for a current total of 212 persons either being tested for the coronavirus or still being treated for respiratory symptoms.

The total number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thailand is unchanged at 35. • The Ministry expanded its definition of a Person Under Investigation (PUI) to include persons presenting fever and symptoms and with travel history to Japan, Singapore and South Korea (in addition to mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taipei and environs) within 14 days prior to the onset of illness.

Yesterday, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that Thailand is preparing “just in case” for worst-case scenarios, readying hospitals and ensuring adequate supplies of medical equipment and supplies to cope with any escalation of the epidemic. COVID-19 will be added to a list of dangerous infectious diseases giving the Government authority to respond quickly.

On 17 February 2020, the Ministry of Public Health announced that 137 out of the 138 Thai nationals who were evacuated from Wuhan, China have completed their 14-day quarantine period and returned home. The one confirmed COVID-19 case among the group remains under observation at a Chonburi hospital, and is reported to be doing well.

Authorities have tested 1489 samples for COVID-19 to date. Six laboratories are presently authorized to perform tests; the Government seeks to expand capacity for testing to at least one hospital per province soon.

WHO reiterates that health screening and surveillance systems in Thailand – at points of entry into the country as well as nationwide – are robust and capable of tracking suspected cases quickly, allowing health authorities to implement protocols to ensure isolation, contact tracing, testing and treatment of symptoms.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ADVICE FOR THE PUBLIC

The basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections, including by the virus causing COVID-19, include the following:

Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.

Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.

Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.

People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).

Within healthcare facilities, enhance standard infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, especially in emergency departments. WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their healthcare provider.

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