Thailand Says It Can't Stop Coronavirus, Fears Outbreak in Tourist Centers

Posted on January 29, 2020

Thailand could be one of the first countries to have sustained local transmission if the novel coronavirus spreads outside of China. The country has a regular influx of Chinese tourists.

Thailand already has 14 coronavirus cases but so far there has no been no local transmission. Thailand health minister Anutin Charnvirakul told Sky News, "We are not able to stop the spread. Our target is we will be able to detect all carriers entering Thailand and we will apply necessary measures as the situation develops.Of course we expect more people to get sick but we are able to identify all of them."

An article in the Bangkok Post says the country fears an outbreak will begin an areas with many Chinese visitors. Japan has already had a case where a local tour bus driver contracted the virus from Chinese tourists.

Once the virus begins spreading it is then possible to get third and fourth generation transmission and could become difficult to control. This is similar to what is happening currerntly in China's provinces. If health workers became sick it will make stopping the virus from spreading even more difficult.

Dr. Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, tells the Bangkok Post, "An outbreak in Thailand is possible. As in Japan, it will start with local transmission on a very limited scale and later grow to the provincial level. We are closely monitoring sensitive areas with large numbers of Chinese tourists such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Bangkok, which are highly possible to be specific outbreak areas."

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Image: IVDC, China CDC via GISAID

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