Thailand to tightened up measures in all COVID-19 quarantine hotels

A woman wears a protective face mask as she looks at her mobile phone amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept 30, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)

BANGKOK - Thailand's Ministry of Public Health on Friday said it will revamp and re-adjust COVID-19 preventive measures at more than 100 hotels under the alternative state quarantine program.

The move came after two people, who were quarantined in a same Thai hotel with an infected French woman, tested positive for COVID-19.

In mid October, the ministry's Department of Disease Control said the French woman fell ill after her 14 day-quarantine. She later tested positive for COVID-19. Consequently, two infected male patients tested positive on Oct. 15 and Oct. 19 respectively.

"The ministry will adjust COVID-19 preventive measures in all quarantine sites to avoid a repeat like that of the three patients who contracted the virus from the quarantine hotel she was staying," said Dr. Tharet Karatnairawiwong, director-general of the ministry's Department of Health Services Support.

"Passengers including Thai returnees, upon arrival, will be divided into different groups, according to the pandemic situation in their countries of departure," said Tharet, "Also, during the 14-day mandatory quarantine, those in hotel based quarantine will still be allowed to leave their rooms for recreation or exercise in specific areas, but preventive measures will have to be tightened up, such as social distancing and regular disinfection of fitness equipment."

Tharet also said that the three infected was a result of lax measures at some hotels.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, there are 101 hotels, with 13,004 rooms, being used as quarantine facilities.

There are also 21 alternative local quarantine facilities in other provinces such as Buri Ram, Chon Buri, Phuket, Prachin Buri and Surat Thani, which receive direct flights from abroad.