The Thai government has blamed the Egyptian embassy for the delegate who visited Rayong province and later tested positive for COVID 19, leading to the closure of schools and putting more than 1,800 people at risk of contracting the infection.
Yesterday, air force chief, ACM Manat Wongwit, pointed the finger at the Public Health Ministry for not organizing proper quarantine and COVID 19 checks when the group arrived at U-tapao airport.
The spokesperson for the Center for COVID 19 Situation Administration, Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, announced that the Egyptian embassy in Thailand was at fault for the 31-strong delegation visiting shopping malls during their stay.
Dr Visanuyothin explained that the Egyptian embassy was responsible for arranging hotel accommodation instead of sending the group to a quarantine facility. He said: “Regulations require the quarantine during their stay but the embassy contacted the hotel directly. Health and security teams learned later about the incident and did their best to cope.”
He continued by naming the hotel where the group stayed as DVaree Hotel and the shopping malls visited as Central Plaza Rayong and Laemtong mall.
After learning about the group leaving the hotel, Dr Visanuyothin explained that local investigators attempted to convince the group to undergo COVID 19 testing. They Egyptians cooperated only after their embassy was contacted.
Furthermore, CCTV showed that some of the group did not wear face masks while in public. Dr Visanuyothin explained: “CCTV showed that three of the visitors wore face masks. The others had face masks but did not wear them. The infected person wore his face mask while in public.”
Further pointing the finger at the Egyptian embassy, Dr Visanuyothin said that the group was expected to land at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport and not at U-tapao. He explained that such groups usually quarantine at Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport hotel.
Nine people are considered “high-risk” following the incident – two van drivers and seven hotel employees. There are also 394 people at Laemtong mall and 1,488 people at Central Plaza Rayong who checked in or out on ThaiChana while the Egyptian group was there.
An additional seven people were at the Central Plaza mall but were not contactable as they had likely input fake or wrong phone numbers when checking in/out.
Due to the incident, the CCSA has decided to cancel eight scheduled Egyptian air force flights that were due to arrive in Thailand on July 17th to 20th and 25th to 29th.
The spokesman also apologized, saying: “We are truly sorry for the incident in Rayong, where about 1,000 people are now at risk and about 10 schools must be closed.”