Chiang Mai, Thailand-
The following is a developing story.
Chiang Mai Officials, including the Governor, have announced a domestic case of the Covid-19 disease has been found in the province and is considered a locally spread case, while calling for calm from residents.
Dr. Opasakarn Kavinpong, Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, together with Dr. Sophon Iamsirithaworn, Director of the Division of General Communicable Diseases and Dr. Preecha Prempri, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control held a press conference on the situation this afternoon.
The patient is a 24 year old Thai woman who had recently returned from Myanmar, but did not go through quarantine, according to the officials at the press conference. The reason for not going through quarantine was not immediately clear and Dr. Sophon stated that the Governor would be giving more details at a later time. Dr. Sophon did, however, note that if the patient was found to have entered the country illegally legal charges would likely apply.
The woman had spent October 23 to November 24 in Myanmar, according to the officials. She had begun to feel sick on November 23 while still in Myanmar but did not report to a doctor and entered Thailand at 5:00 AM on November 24 by van from Myanmar to Mae Sri in Chiang Rai province. She then went to Chiang Mai by bus at 11:00 AM.
At 2:50 PM she arrived in Chiang Mai and took a Grab taxi to her condo. She already reportedly had lost her sense of smell, had a fever and other symptoms of Covid-19 such as diarrhea.
Regardless of having symptoms, the patient decided to go to a karaoke/nightclub in the Santitham District with two friends and went via Grab taxi on the night of the 24. The patient reportedly shared cigarettes with her friends. The name of the venue was not given, however, has been reportedly closed and all staff quarantined and other people attending being traced.
On the morning of November 25th she stayed the night with a friend at her friend’s condo. Several other friends came over to drink with them and have been identified and quarantined.
On November 25th the patient returned to her condo via a Grab taxi and then proceeded to go to a local shopping mall, Central Festival, where she watched a movie, went to eat and went shopping. All places she went have been identified, the venues in question are being cleaned and all contacts tested and quarantined. She wore at mask at times, but not at all times according to Dr. Sophon. She returned home around 8:30 PM.
On November 26th she began to feel worse and went to a private hospital Her body temperature was only 36.9, however she had other symptoms of Covid-19 and was feeling ill. The private hospital sent her to Nakhon Ping hospital in Chiang Mai where she was tested for Covid-19.
On November 27th the results of the first test confirmed she was positive for the Covid-19 virus. 326 high risk contacts so far have been identified and quarantined through a track and trace program.
The woman remains in treatment at the Nakhon Ping hospital and hundreds of people have now been placed in quarantine and are being tested, including her close friends and roommates. So far, all have tested negative on initial tests. Venues the woman visited are being cleaned entirely and have been closed.
More information from the Governor of Chiang Mai, including on how the woman entered the country without quarantine, is expected to come possibly later today. Authorities have stressed to the public to remain calm and that the contact tracing program is working and they have established clear timelines. Meanwhile, residents of the Chiang Mai area on social media are already calling for significant legal charges to be pressed against the woman for setting the area at risk, with some calling for the Emergency Decree act to be used against the patient if proven guilty.
We will update this with more information if it becomes available.
Update: As of 4:00 PM Central Festival in Chiang Mai has closed for one day to conduct a full cleaning of the mall where the woman went shopping. They plan to reopen tomorrow.