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Thailand’s Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong ordered health officials nationwide to be on alert of Coronavirus particularly in tourist destination provinces.
Coronaviruses are common viruses that just about everybody will get at some time in their life and usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness.
The virus was first identified in the mid 1960’s. There are several types that can infect people, alpha coronaviruses 229E and NL63, beta coronaviruses OC43, HKU1, and SARS-CoV, the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome. The coronaviruses can also infect animals, but most only infect one species at a time, however SARS-CoV can infect people and animals, including monkeys, cats, dogs, and rodents. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) emerged in the Arabian peninsula last September and has been smoldering there ever since.
According to the minister, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has not been detected in Thailand but the Public Health Ministry is ready to deal with the disease. Mr Pradit said Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Phuket, and Khon Kaen were ordered to be on high alert. He added that local hospitals are already prepared to receive suspected cases.
All provinces have been instructed to monitor patients with serious respiratory symptoms, particularly those with pneumonia. Related laboratory systems are being up in the Medical Sciences Department’s 14 centers nationwide in order to facilitate fast and accurate diagnosis of the disease. Disease control is to be done for both MERS-CoV and Influenza A virus subtype H7N9.
Permanent-secretary for Public Health Narong Sahametapat said at risk groups vulnerable to Coronavirus include Thai-Muslim pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj in September and October, Thai workers returning home from the Middle East, and Thais and foreigners travelling through Middle Eastern countries.
The Public Health Minister issued health advisories in Thai, English, and Arabic languages for those entering the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) on June 17 reported that 64 patients had been confirmed infected with MERS-CoV with the death toll so far at 38 in nine countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.