Coronavirus Claims First Death in Thailand

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
March 2, 2020COVID-19
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Coronavirus Claims First Death in Thailand
Buddhist monks wearing protective facemasks attend outdoor mass prayer at Wat Dhammakaya Buddhist temple in Bangkok on Jan. 31, 2020 (Lillian Suwanrumpha/ AFP/Getty Images)

A 35-year-old man who also had dengue fever was the first person to die from coronavirus infection in Thailand, officials said Sunday amidst announcements of ratcheting up safety measures.

The man, who worked in the retail industry, reportedly had exposure to Chinese tourists in the early stages of the outbreak.

“This was a case of local transmission, and he was at risk because he had exposure to Chinese tourists,” Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

The man was hospitalized on Jan. 27 and diagnosed with dengue fever. Later he also tested positive for the coronavirus, or COVID-19. On Feb. 5, he was transferred to the national coronavirus disease center for specialized treatment.

The man died of multiple organ failure late Saturday night.

The Thai Department of Disease Control further stepped up its safety measures on Sunday, including a potential lockdown of several high-risk areas, and quarantine and compulsory treatment for disobedient citizens.

A new coronavirus case was reported on Monday, bringing the total number of such cases in the country to 43 since January, a senior health official said.

The new case is a 22-year-old Thai woman who works with another Thai patient, a Thai driver for foreign tourists, Sukhum Kanchanaphimai, the permanent secretary of the health ministry, said in a news conference.

So far, 31 coronavirus patients have recovered and returned home and 11 are still being treated in hospitals.

The World Health Organization, which already called the epidemic an international health emergency, has upgraded the global risk level to very high.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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