Thai returnee tests positive for new Covid-19 variant


A Thai national who is in quarantine after returning from Tanzania is infected with the South Africa strain of Covid-19, a variant of the virus known to be more contagious and believed to be resistant to some vaccines.

The Department of Disease Control director-general Opas Karnkawinpong says health officials are strictly monitoring the situation and a rapid screening process will be implemented for those arriving from areas at high risk of the South Africa variant.

The 41-year-old Thai gem trader had travelled to Tanzania for business. He then travelled to Ethiopia and returned to Thailand on January 29.

He tested positive for Covid-19 while undergoing the mandatory 14 days quarantine for those arriving in Thailand. Opas says the new variant is more infectious but is less severe. He assures everyone that no medical staff have been infected while treating the patient.

The department is closely analyzing the situation following concerns the South Africa variant may have reached Thailand. Mutations such as the G variant from England may make the virus spread faster but they are less severe.

A preliminary report shows that AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine only provides limited protection against the new South Africa strain of the virus.

Source: The Thaiger