Close to 20 people have been asked to come in and get tested for COVID-19 in response to the detection of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in an American traveler who entered Thailand from Spain. In light of rumors about one of the test results being positive, public health authorities have confirmed that all results have so far been negative.
Dr. Chakrarat Pittayawonganon, director of the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Disease Control, explained that the profiling of the Omicron variant patient has yielded 19 individuals who had contact with the patient, albeit all of them being deemed at low risk of having contracted the coronavirus. 2 instances of contact were in Suvarnabhumi Airport while 17 occurred at the SHA+ hotel where the patient was staying to wait for the on-arrival RT-PCR test result. Of the 17 persons at the hotel, 16 had negative test results but 1 was away from the hotel on the test day. The person, a staffer at the hotel restaurant, had left for Ubon Ratchathani and was contacted by health officials to come in for testing. The result of the first RT-PCR test on this individual was inconclusive, prompting another sample collection which then produce a negative result upon testing. Nonetheless, individuals who have had close contact with the restaurant worker have now been placed in isolation as a precaution.
Meanwhile, the Omicron variant patient still has not displayed any symptoms. He remains under quarantine in a healthcare facility and must complete 14 days of isolation, counting from his November 30 date of arrival in Thailand. After the 14 days, health officials will continue to contact the man on a daily basis to inquire about his condition.
The Omicron variant has now been detected in 54 countries globally and domestic transmissions have been confirmed in 19 countries. No critical patients or deaths have been reported among the Omicron variant patients.
Dr. Chakrarat said there are positive signs the Omicron variant does not result in severe symptoms, which means there is now a heightened possibility of the variant developing into an endemic disease.