As of Wednesday (11 March), Thailand has reported six confirmed cases of the COVID-19, where one of them was a Singaporean man who owned a restaurant in the business district of Bangkok.
With the addition of these six new patients, it brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Thailand to 59.
According to Dr Sopon Lamsirithaworn, Director of the Communicable Diseases Division at the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand, on Monday (9 March), a 36-year-old Singaporean man named Jay, had visited a private hospital in the Thai capital after he fell ill.
Two days later, his test results proved positive for coronavirus.
“Although he had stayed in Thailand for a certain period of time, which is longer than the incubation period of the disease, he provided services to tourists and foreigners and could thus have contracted the virus that way,” Dr Sopon noted.
Dr Sopon added that the restaurateur’s contacts were of various nationalities, including Singaporeans.
Mr Jay, the Singaporean owner of Ohana Poké, shared his story on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
In his post, Mr Jay acknowledged that upon being tested positive for the virus, he had called his manager to close the shop and immediately informed the management of All Seasons Place – a shopping mall in Bangkok – where his restaurant was located.
Mr Jay expressed that it was his duty to do this, “Because your safety – my customers, my suppliers and my staff is my top priority. Although technically I have to wait for the official confirmation from my current hospital, the responsible thing to do is to keep everyone away from any place that I visit regularly. At this time of writing, I’m still waiting for my confirmation at the official quarantine hospital.”
To dispel rumours that the business owner Ohana Poké was a Korean national, Mr Jay has also displayed his passport and boarding pass back to Bangkok, Thailand in his post.
The Singaporean man explained that he was there for more than one month. “If 14-days is the maximum incubation/infection period, I mostly likely caught it locally in Bangkok, Thailand”, he added.
The Facebook post also shared details of all staff members of Ohane Poke, showing that they went to Chulalongkorn Hospital in Thailand, and that they did not show any symptoms of the virus. But as health protocol requires, they have been sent home for a 14-day self-quarantine.
In addition to that, Mr Jay clarified that both the building and restaurant had been subjected to sanitisation protocols.
He added that the shop would be closed until further notice and that his online ordering sites have been deactivated.
Another Singaporean diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning from Thailand
Separately, at the same press conference on Wednesday, Dr Sopon also disclosed that another patient from Singapore who had travelled to Thailand for work on 4 March had returned to Singapore two days later, before being diagnosed with COVID-19 on 7 March.
“Considering the incubation period of the disease, he’s believed to have been infected before (visiting Thailand). He also has travel history to England, besides coming from Singapore. Both countries have infected patients,” Dr Sopon said.
“So, for this case, we can conclude the infection didn’t happen in Thailand and the disease hasn’t been spread to other people within the country.”