Expat residents in Thailand uneasy about official coronavirus reports

Published:  11 Mar at 6 PM
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Expats in Thailand are now questioning how many Chinese arrivals from Wuhan are still in the country’s popular tourism destinations.

Until the first few days of breaking news over the Wuhan coronavirus, Thailand’s southern islands, the capital Bangkok and the northern city of Chiang Mai were crammed with Chinese tourists, the majority of whom were believed to have arrived from Hubei province and Wuhan itself. Frequent flights from the virus-hit city continued until China itself locked down flights from its infected areas, but those who’d arrived before the outbreak were presumed to still be in Thailand.

Unable to return home due to the flight bans, it was assumed that many were circulating around the country, with some 100,000 still reported up to just under four weeks ago. According to local media, immigration officials reported stringent health screening at all airports, but expats arriving at the same time posting they’d seen no such checks. Authorities are still insisting the bulk of earlier Chinese arrivals still in the country had flown in before the Wuhan outbreak became a serious issue.

Thai health officials seem to be as confused as are the general public and America’s president as to the best way to deal with the infection. Statements such as ‘imposing travel bans on all Chinese visitors wouldn’t help control infections’ hasn’t given citizens or the expat community any reassurance and, for many, the official numbers of infections and deaths seem to be well on the low side considering the huge numbers of Chinese visitors still in the country.
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