5 More Foreign Inmates Infected, Total Virus Tally Now 3,000

A health quarantine checkpoint at the Thai-Malaysia border in Songkhla province.
A health quarantine checkpoint at the Thai-Malaysia border in Songkhla province.

BANGKOK — Eight more people, including five foreigners held at the immigration jail in Songkhla province, caught the coronavirus, the government said Friday.

Three patients were found during an active case-finding operation in Yala province, Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration, said. They had a history of coming in close contact with those who recently returned from Malaysia.

Another group of five patients are detainees at the immigration detention center in Songkhla’s Sadao district. Sixty of its inmates had previously been diagnosed with the virus. Health officials believed that the infections were associated with one of the police officers working at the detention facility.

The spokesman said the criteria for those who are eligible for COVID-19 test have been adjusted to cover more symptoms.

“We have adjusted the criteria for PUIs [patients under investigation] many times,” Taweesin said. “As you all know the criteria were previously strict, but now we have relaxed them to cover more patients.”

Those who have a cough, running nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, pneumonia, or anosmia may now take the test, if they also have risk factors such as spending time in a crowded environment or being in close contact with infected patients.

The total count of confirmed cases in Thailand now stands at 3,000.

No new fatalities were reported in today’s daily news briefing. As of Friday, 161 infected patients are being treated at hospitals, while 2,784 patients have recovered.