Amidst a short social media frenzy about a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in Pattaya yesterday, PR Pattaya had to put out a statement on their facebook page to the contrary of what was abuzz on twitter: there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 stemming from a string of fevers reported at a bar on the Soi 6 Walking Street.
In Bangkok, as well – fear of a mandatory COVID-19 quarantine in the Rama 9 area grew after a couple tweeted about a death related to the illness, adding that another 40 people had subsequently been quarantined. All of it was unverified, and later determined to be fake news.
With a general hysteria related to the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Thailand and around the world, many people are left wondering – what is the truth?
What is COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s fairly simple: COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. The origin of the current coronavirus is Wuhan.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
Who is the source of trusted information related to the COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand?
However, more often than not, the information being released by the MOPH is in Thai language only. This is problematic for the large number of non-thai speaking expats and tourists in Thailand.
Here’s one example:
I just went to ______ should I quarantine?
According to the royal gazette, the following countries have been banned for travel by the civil servants, and as such, as the current high-risk countries for people living and traveling/from Thailand:
- People’s Republic of China
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
Where in Bangkok can I get tested?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and have traveled to any of the above countries or been in contact with a sick person who has done so, you can go to any public hospital and get a screening as you would for any other illness you’d have at a time without a public health crisis- the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to that of many other illnesses. In any case of a patient testing positive for COVID-19, the Thai CDC will be notified.
However, all of this will come at a cost.
We spoke with Samitivej Sukhumvit and Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospitals. Both hospitals first did an initial phone screen, asking basic questions – countries of travel, symptoms and place of primary residence.
Samitivej Sukhumvit suggested that if there was travel to any of the above-listed countries and symptoms had arisen, to make an appointment at counter number 3 to see a doctor in the Infectious Disease Clinic. All said-and-done, this would cost THB 8,000-10,000, the breakdown being THB 8,000 for the test (nasal and throat swabs), a chest x-ray and a flexible doctor fee. The turnaround time for the test is 3 days.
At Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, the same tests are done for THB 3,000-6,000, and have a turnaround time of 8 hours.
If you are next-level concerned and really want to speak to an expert, you can also go to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute.