On Sunday, the provincial public health office in Chiang Mai called for calm as officials were yet to detect any further infections among people who had been in close contact with an infected Thai woman feared to be a superspreader.
Songyos Khamchai, who is in charge of communicable diseases at the office, said the first tests on people in a high-risk group were negative, and all were put in a state quarantine facility for 14 days, where they would be tested again.
“The situation in Chiang Mai is not serious because only one patient was found to have been infected with the virus,” the official said in a radio programme from the public relations office in the northern province.
The Disease Control Department identified 105 people as being in a high-risk category due to their coming into close contact with the infected patient, a 29-year-old Thai woman who sneaked across the border from the Burmese city of Tachilek to Mae Sai in Chiang Rai province on 23rd November
She then caught a bus to Chiang Mai, where she went shopping at CentralFestival and drinking at a bar in Santitham – all while suffering from a fever.
Another 149 people were considered at low risk, while 72 more were identified to have been in the general areas visited by the woman. A total of 326 people are thought to have potentially been exposed to COVID-19.
Grab Thailand said that for safety reasons, it has temporarily suspended several drivers who transported the patient between Tuesday and Friday last week after the firm was contacted by the Disease Control Department.
The discovery of the COVID-19 case came as Chiang Mai province plans a series of activities in remembrance of the late King Bhumibol on his birthday on 5th December. The country is also preparing for a long weekend from 10th – 13th December to promote tourism, which was crippled by the virus outbreak.