Special flights are being organised to pick up Thais stranded overseas after a student died of the coronavirus in Egypt, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday.
The premier said he had ordered the Foreign Affairs Ministry to urgently arrange the “rescue” flights.
Speaking after Wednesday’s meeting of the cabinet, Gen Chan-o-cha said repatriation flights would be provided on an ongoing basis and would bring back tens of thousands of Thai people now waiting to return home.
Gen Chan-o-cha said he was so concerned for the welfare of the stranded Thais he had also asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to provide them with essential supplies and take care of them.
The Thai embassy in Egypt was first alerted to a male university student being seriously ill there on 24th July. Officials organised with the Egyptian public health ministry to immediately take him to hospital.
The embassy said it was then told four days later that the student had passed away due to a lung inflammation caused by COVID-19.
The embassy confirmed that this was the first case of a Thai national dying in Egypt of COVID-19.
Cherdkiat Atthakor, a spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said a friend of the sick student contacted the embassy in early July and reported he had a cough and was unduly fatigued.
It was not until three weeks later that the student was diagnosed as having a problem in his lungs.
He was sent to a hospital provided by the Egyptian authorities but his condition kept worsening. He passed away on 28th July and was buried on the same day at an Islamic graveyard in Cairo.
325 Thais who returned on a repatriation flight from Egypt on Wednesday were tested for COVID-19 by the embassy. Six of them did not pass the screening.
As of 28th July 2020, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Egypt was 92,482 and the death toll 4,652. It is known that 127 Thais in the country have contracted the virus. with 100 receiving treatment, 26 now recovered and the one death.
Three Thai monks at a Buddhist temple in Las Vegas, Nevada, have reportedly been infected with the virus, two were so sick they were taken to hospital and required the use of a respirator. The other had only mild symptoms and has been isolated at the temple.
It is still unclear how the monks were infected. The temple said they had not travelled into the community to perform religious rites.
In Taiwan, 29 people who had been in close contact with an infected Thai factory worker have been tested for COVID-19. 28 have been given the all-clear and the other result is pending.
All 160 people who worked in the same factory as the infected Thai worker were screened for the COVID-19 infection on Tuesday. None of them showed any symptoms.
Meanwhile, 54 Thais were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly sneaking back into the country in Narathiwat’s Sungai Kolok district. They were fined and placed into state quarantine for 14 days.
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