Thailand makes MERS test mandatory for patients before entry

Bangkok, Jun 23: Patients travelling from MERS-hit nations to Thailand for treatment through agency arrangements will be required to undergo tests for the deadly virus one week ahead of their entry, authorities said today.

"The screening measure is part of efforts to control the spread of MERS," Supamit Chunsuttiwat of the Disease Control Department said here. [What is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS)?: Explained]


Authorities said patients travelling from MERS-affected countries for medical services here, through agency arrangements, will be required to undergo tests for the virus one week ahead of their entry.

Thailand is a popular medical visit destination and more than a million foreigners come to this country each year. Authorities believe the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) situation in Thailand is under control as there has been just one confirmed case of an Omani citizen who is recovering.

"Authorities have successfully contained the infection and no new case was found of a MERS situation in Thailand," Public Health Ministry deputy permanent secretary Wachira Pengjuntr said.

There were 163 people on the MERS watch list as they had contact with the Omani patient, he said.

"The number has dropped from 176 a day earlier because 13 of them have left the country," Pengjuntr said, adding that despite the good signs, the Public Health Ministry would continue to enforce strict disease-control measures.

There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, which has a fatality rate reaching 40.7 per cent and whose first case was identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, where more than 400 have been killed. Over 20 countries have been affected.


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