Thai minister quarantined, first case of Phuket Sandbox tourist testing positive for COVID-19


BANGKOK, July 7 (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa was put under quarantine after he shared a flight with a COVID-19 infected passenger, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Chatuphorn Burutphat, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, confirmed Varawut and himself traveled on June 25 to Phuket on the same flight with the infected passenger.

They were among senior government officials attending the launch of the Phuket reopening campaign.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was sent to quarantine on Monday after contacting a businessperson who tested positive for COVID-19 at the same campaign.

Meanwhile, a tourist from the United Arab Emirates who arrived Phuket on Tuesday was tested positive for coronavirus, forcing 13 to 14 close contacts to undergo the quarantine process, said provincial public health official Kusak Kukiatkul on Wednesday.

The Phuket Sandbox reopening campaign provides for fully-vaccinated, negative-testing foreigners to visit Phuket without quarantine and to leave for other destinations in Thailand after spending 14 days on the island.