The UK COVID-19 variant now spreading through Thailand might have been brought into the country from Cambodia, either by Thais crossing the border or migrant workers, a top virologist said on Thursday.
Prof Yong Pooverawan, of the faculty of medicine, Chulalongkorn University, said the UK variant was found in people from India and China who entered Cambodia in February.
The first cases were reported there on 15th February, he said in a post on his Facebook page.
The UK variant had spread in Cambodia since then.
Cambodia has reported 2,915 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths, according to the worldometers website.
A spokeswoman for the Cambodian Health Ministry, Or Vandine, on 11th March expressed concern about the spread of the UK strain there. “The fast-transmitting UK variant is now active in Cambodia, especially in Phnom Penh,” VOA quoted her as saying.
Thai health authorities reported the first local transmission of the same variant on Wednesday. It was found in a cluster of infections spreading rapidly from pubs in Bangkok’s Thong Lor area.
“I have no idea how it slipped into Thailand, and through our quarantine programme,” Dr Pooverawan told reporters on Wednesday.