The Indian variant of the Covid19 virus has arrived in Thailand. The variant was discovered in a Thai woman and her young son who came from Pakistan, prompting authorities to extend the ban on international arrivals in countries other than India.
Apisamai Srirangson, CCSA’s assistant spokeswoman, said the woman and her three sons, aged four, six and eight, arrived in Thailand from Pakistan via Dubai on April 24.
All were in a state-run quarantine facility upon arrival, and initial tests showed that the mother and her youngest son were positive, while the other children were not infected.
A full genome sequence test conducted at Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital on Sunday confirmed that the virus they feared was indeed the variant from India called B.1.617.1.
“This is the first discovery of the Indian variety in the kingdom,” said Dr Apisamai.
The B.1.617.1 variant was first registered in India in October before spreading to other countries. Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh were among the countries on the subcontinent where this virus was found. In Southeast Asia, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia have discovered the same variant.
Dr. Apisamai said authorities were concerned about the arrival of this version of the virus and the new danger it poses. “There is concern about this variant and the possibility that it could mutate in Thailand,” she added.
Thailand has banned foreign arrivals from India since the beginning of this month due to concerns about the Indian variant. The Thai Embassy in India does not issue a Certificate of Entry (COE) to non-Thai citizens, which basically means that they cannot travel to the kingdom.
The assistant spokeswoman said the State Department and Ministry of Disease Control are currently in a discussion about stopping the issuing of entry permits in other countries to try to keep the Indian variant of Covid-19 out of Thailand.
For the countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, an entry ban to Thailand was imposed yesterday, there is a possibility to postpone COEs in other countries, ”she added.
The government is considering a broader ban on foreign arrivals across the subcontinent.
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