The government will issue its first pandemic alert today to shoppers in Rayong province, officials said.
After an Egyptian air force officer with COVID-19 was allowed to visit public places this past weekend in Rayong province, SMS messages will be sent to 394 people known to have visited the same shopping malls, according to Polawat Witookollachit, inspector general of Digital Economy and Society Ministry.
Pandemic response spokesman Taweesilp Wissanuyothin said Tuesday those malls were CentralPlaza Rayong and Passione Shopping Destination, aka Laemtong Rayong. Polawat said the SMS messages would request people isolate themselves along with their families for 14 days and notify local health officials of their whereabouts since Friday.
The man and his large retinue were said to have been at Passione Shopping Destination from about 12:25pm to 3pm. His large group of colleagues then took a taxi to CentralPlaza Rayong, where they stayed until about 6pm. As for why it took two days to notify people since the officer tested positive, Polawat said they had to manually retrace their steps.
“The Egytian officer didn’t check in with the Thailand Wins app, but once we knew which mall he went to, we checked the CCTV and discovered he was there from 11am to 3pm,” the inspector general said, adding that they then cross-referenced that with patrons who checked in with the app or paper sign-in sheets.
Since it launched in May on a promise to quickly notify those who come into proximity with someone infected, commercial venues have been called upon to record the entrance and exit of all patrons. But to date it has only collected data. Though officials acknowledged it lacked the ability to issue the promised notifications, the outbreak soon dwindled and domestic transmission disappeared.
The Egyptian left Thailand prior to his test results being known. Along with the case of a Sudanese family allowed to “self-quarantine” downtown, the lax approach to the visiting officer has led to public resentment and fears of a second wave of infections.
Officials have also been pressured to be more transparent. The public only learned where the soldier and family had stayed after announcements were made by the D Varee Diva Rayong hotel in Rayong and Condo One X, respectively.
This article, Gov’t to ask visitors to two Rayong malls to quarantine two weeks, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!