BANGKOK – A French woman on the Thai resort island of Samui has tested positive for the coronavirus and probably acquired it after arriving in Thailand in what could be one of few cases of local transmission, health officials said Friday.
The finding was announced the same week that Thailand began allowing some tourists to enter again after banning all commercial flights since early April. On Tuesday, 39 tourists from Shanghai flew into Bangkok under a special tourist visa program that allows in a limited number of visitors under tight restrictions, including a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
The 57-year-old woman arrived in Bangkok with her husband and son on Sept. 30, and all three underwent the mandatory 14-day quarantine, during which they tested negative twice for the disease, said Dr. Sophon Iamsirithaworn, director of the Bureau of General Communicable Diseases
The family flew on Oct. 15 to Samui, where they maintain a residence. The woman went to a hospital on Tuesday after experiencing coronavirus symptoms, and on Wednesday tested positive. Her family has been quarantined again but a new test gave negative results for them.
Also under quarantine were passengers and crew of the flight they took to Samui and 40 workers at the quarantine facility in Bangkok. Those test results are pending.
Thailand has had few cases of local transmission over the past several months. Almost all have been found in Thais or foreign residents returning from abroad.
Earlier this week, the Health Ministry announced that five people in the town of Mae Sot, on the border with Myanmar, tested positive. The five, none of whom exhibited symptoms, were the first locally transmitted cases confirmed in Thailand since early September, when a prison inmate in the Bangkok area tested positive.
All five of the Mae Sot cases are members of a family of Myanmar nationals residing in Thailand. Myanmar has had a serious outbreak that began in August, causing Thai authorities to tighten controls along the border.
Thai health officials on Friday announced eight new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 3,727, including 59 deaths.