Officials Can’t Confirm Origins of 2nd Domestic Virus Case

Buriram United youth players get tested for COVID-19 at the club’s training ground on Sept. 13, 2020.
Buriram United youth players get tested for COVID-19 at the club’s training ground on Sept. 13, 2020.

BANGKOK — Health officials on Monday said they have yet to find coronavirus infection among those in close contact with the country’s second domestic patient in a single month, but they can’t establish how he contracted the virus either.

The Department of Disease Control said 433 people were tested for the virus, and 147 samples came out negative, while the rest is still awaiting confirmation. They are said to share close proximity with the 29-year-old Uzbek professional football player who tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday.

The footballer, who plays for Buriram United Football Club, was diagnosed with the coronavirus after he already completed his mandatory quarantine upon his arrival in August, and had tested negative for multiple times.

Although officials have yet to ascertain how he got the virus, Yong Poovorawan, a virology expert from Chulalongkorn University, said Friday the case is unlikely to have been domestically transmitted since the virus incubation period had been longer than usual.


“He is likely to have been infected from his country of origin,” Yong said.

The Uzbek footballer is the second person in the last 30 days to test positive for the coronavirus inside Thailand, after a 37-year-old DJ was discovered with the virus on Sept. 2.

The Buriram footballer played warm up matches with Ratchaburi Mitr Phol and Khonkaen football clubs on Aug. 30 and Sept. 5, according to the disease control department.

He did not visit any public venues except the club’s stadium and training ground, the report added. The footballer showed no symptoms.

Vitit Saritdeechaikul, the director of Buriram provincial public health office, said that 42 players and staff members of Buriram United are being quarantined at a state-controlled facility after their return from the club’s training ground in Samut Prakan province on Saturday.

The Hidden Outbreak?

Health officials have yet to figure out how the man was infected; he reportedly caught the coronavirus before he was imprisoned on drug charges.

“It’s difficult to determine where or when the man was infected. This happens to all countries,” Disease control department chief Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said. “We went all the way back to Aug. 1 and found no one near him was infected.”

Nevertheless, he insisted that the situation in Thailand remains under control.

“Thailand is relatively safe, but members of the public should continue to wear masks and wash their hands regularly,” Suwanchai said.

The health authorities are also unable to say why three people who recently departed from Thailand to Japan were found with the virus. Japanese media reports said the trio tested positive while they were quarantined upon their arrival in Japan.


Suwanchai said health officials are tracing their friends and relatives in Thailand.

In today’s report, the government’s pandemic response center said two new patients were reported inside state quarantine. The patients were identified as Thai returnees from the U.S. and Qatar.

Thailand’s cumulative case of infection stands at 3,475 as of today.