All Those In Close Contact With Omicron Case Test Negative

Dr Chakkarat Pitayawonganon
Dr Chakkarat Pitayawonganon

All 17 people who came in close contact with Thailand’s first Omicron case, a visiting American citizen, at his hotel have now tested negative for COVID-19, the Department of Disease Control reported on Tuesday.

The last to be tested was a 44-year-old hotel waiter who served food to the American on 1st December, Dr Chakkarat Pitayawonganon, director of epidemiology, said.

The waiter had previously received two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, on 14th June and 3rd September. He served the American visitor about 9.30pm on 1st December, and had him sign a document. Both wore face masks.

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On 3rd December the waiter went to his home province of Ubon Ratchathani by private car, with five relatives.

Health officials took samples from the waiter in Ubon Ratchathani and took him to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi on Monday.

On Tuesday morning his COVID-19 test was inconclusive. At noon a repeat test returned negative for COVID-19. The waiter would be tested again on 12th or 13th December at the institute where he was being quarantined. The health of the five relatives was also being monitored, Dr Chakkarat said.

The waiter was among 17 people who came in close contact with the infected traveller at his hotel. The 16 others had already tested negative for COVID-19, Dr Pitayawonganon said.

Two airport staff who were in close contact with the visitor also tested negative.

The 35-year-old American businessman had lived in Spain for a year. He tested negative for COVID-19 in Spain on 28th November, Dr Pitayawonganon said.

On 29th November he flew from Spain to Dubai where he stayed for nine hours without talking with anyone and always wore a face mask.

On 30th November he arrived in Bangkok from Dubai. He travelled alone and sat beside the window on the plane. The seat next to him was empty, Dr Pitayawonganon said.

On arrival, he entered via Test & Go for fully vaccinated air passengers. His COVID-19 test returned positive the following day.

The American remained asymptomatic on Tuesday and would be required to complete 14-day quarantine, Dr Pitayawonganon said.

He also said that Omicron cases had now been detected in 54 countries – with 19 countries recording local infections and 35 countries, including Thailand, imported cases.

There had been no confirmed report of a fatality or severe illness from the new COVID-19 variant, he said.

“Omicron has not been a variant of great concerns,” Dr Pitayawonganon said.

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