Hungarian Diplomat Caught COVID-19 From His Own Minister in Thailand

Hungarian Foreign Minister

Yesterday, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) confirmed that a Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok who tested positive for COVID-19 had caught it from one of his own government ministers.

Chief of the DDC’s Communicable Diseases Division, Sophon Iamsirithavorn said the diplomat, who lives in Bangkok, tested positive on Monday but remained asymptomatic.

He is being treated at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi.

Dr Iamsirithavorn said the Hungarian diplomat, 53, had been in close contact with his Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto on 3rd November, having picked him up at Suvarnabhumi airport and taken him and other delegates to an alternative state quarantine hotel in the capital. They sat together in the same car and had lunch together the same day.

Mr Szijjarto tested positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival and flew home by private plane the following day.

As soon as health officials learned of the minister’s positive test they ordered all those who had been in close contact with him, including the diplomat, to have a test and self-quarantine at home for the next few days.

On Monday, the authorities discovered that he was also infected and took him to the institute, although 17 other people who had been in contact with the Hungarian diplomat tested negative.

“It is very clear the diplomat was infected by the Hungarian minister,” Dr Iamsirithavorn said yesterday. “The infection happened in Thailand. We have evidence to say so.”

Meanwhile, immigration officers along the Thai-Cambodian border in Sa Kaeo have beefed up measures to keep out anyone who might be carrying the disease, especially visitors coming from Cambodia.

Acting chief of the DDC, Opas Karnkawinpong, also spoke yesterday about the case of the Indian man who tested positive in Krabi after undergoing a health check to get a work permit. Dr Karnkawinpong said the situation was under control in Krabi and also in Chiang Mai, Sukhothai and Phuket, where the man had also travelled.

Dr Karnkawinpong said the man’s brother, wife and sister-in-law, all tested positive for having COVID-19 antibodies, meaning they had also been infected. The doctor said, however, that they could not pass on the virus and had also been quarantined.

Four new cases of novel coronavirus disease were reported yesterday, 3 quarantined arrivals and the Hungarian diplomat who was infected locally, raising the total to 3,844.

The three infected arrivals were from India, Sweden and the United States.


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