On Wednesday, the Ministry of Public Health dismissed fears of a COVID-19 second wave, despite confirming that two Thai returnees who completed a 14-day quarantine had tested positive for the virus.
The Director-General of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, said his staff were still trying to establish where one of the two people, a 35-year-old woman from Loei province, had become infected.
The DDC on Wednesday allowed the second woman, a 34-year-old from Chaiyaphum province, to return home.
“We found that the virus in her system was decaying and she couldn’t transmit the disease,” he said. “It is normal to find a case like this because the dead or inactive virus-cell can stay in the body for around three months, according to many international studies.”
Dr Wattanayingcharoenchai insisted the Chaiyaphum woman had been infected overseas. “She got the virus while living abroad,” he said. “Moreover, people living close to her house should not panic because the chance of disease transmission is zero.”
The CDC has detained the woman from Loei for monitoring at Ramathibodi Hospital and sent health officials to her home to check whether she had been infected locally and might have passed on the disease to anyone else.
Both women had been working in the United Arab Emirates, taken COVID-19 tests and completed their mandatory 14-day state quarantine on their return home, he said. However, both took a second test this month when they went to Ramathibodi Hospital to get a COVID-19 health certificate to fly overseas.
The Chaiyaphum woman had her first COVID-19 test on her return home on 5th June and the outcome showed an “inconclusive” result, meaning there was a minimal amount of virus in her body.
The second test showed she was free of the virus, so she was allowed to go home. It was on 13th August that she visited Ramathibodi Hospital to get her health certificate to fly overseas, which at this time returned a positive result.
The second woman returned to Thailand on 24th June and stayed in state quarantine for 14 days, when two lab tests indicated she had no virus, so she went home to Loei. The woman drove to Bangkok on Sunday and visited the hospital at midday to get her COVID-19 health certificate allowing her to work overseas, but that time her test was positive.
She is now being closely monitored in the hospital and has shown no signs of having a fever.