Coronavirus: Thailand records first death, 35-year-old man also had dengue fever

People wear protective face masks in the Ratchaprasong shopping district in Bangkok on Feb 26, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Thailand has reported its first coronavirus fatality, local health officials said on Sunday (March 1).

The 35-year-old retail worker had dengue fever and the new disease know as Covid-19, Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director general of the Department of Disease Control, said in a briefing on Sunday.

The patient had been hospitalised for nearly a month and died on Feb 29 after multiple organ failure.

The health ministry is still looking into the role played by the coronavirus in the fatality, Suwannachai said.

"This was a case of local transmission, and he was at risk because he had exposure to Chinese tourists," Suwanchai said, speaking at a news conference.

Tests for the coronavirus came back negative since Feb 16 but "the damage was already done to his body" from the earlier bout of infection by the new disease, said Tawee Chotpitayasunondh, adviser to the Department of Disease Control.

Almost 3,000 people have died from the infection, mostly in epicentre China. Thailand has reported 42 cases of infection, with 30 of those discharged.

New measures to deal with the spread of the coronavirus - earlier introduced by Thailand's National Committee on Communicable Diseases - came into effect on Sunday.

Health officials can now order those suspected of being infected to be quarantined and to undergo treatment. Officials can also order the closure of venues and public areas to contain the virus.

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