11 Soldiers Returning From Hawaii Develop Symptoms: Army

Soldiers check into their state quarantine at the Ambassador City Jomtien hotel in Pattaya on July 22, 2020.

PATTAYA — The army on Thursday said 11 of the 140 Thai soldiers returning from a military exercise in Hawaii were put in hospitals for observation, and the rest were placed in a hotel quarantine. 

Col. Chaianan Songwonpong, director of Camp Navamin Hospital, said the 11 soldiers developed symptoms that qualify for a mandatory hospital stay. Other soldiers are being quarantined at the Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel, where CCTVs will ensure that they do not leave the facility. 

The troops, who are part of the 21st Infantry Regiment and the 14th Military Circle, took an Thai Airways charter flight Tuesday from Hawaii. 

The army said the soldiers participated in a joint military exercise with the U.S. army, called Lightning Forge 2020, at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii from July 1 to 21.

Their return is under intense scrutiny since it comes just after an Egyptian airman who would later test positive for COVID-19 was allowed to visit shopping malls in Rayong, shutting down local tourism and spurring thousands to isolate themselves. 

A foreign diplomat who recently returned from Sudan along with his infected 9-year-old daughter were also allowed to stay in their condo in Bangkok instead of a state-approved quarantine, causing much criticism.