Thai Prime Minister self-isolates after Covid-19 exposure at Phuket reopening

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha (centre) posing for a photo with incoming travellers at Phuket International Airport on July 1, 2021. PHOTO: AFP/ROYAL THAI GOVERNMENT

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will isolate at home for a week after he came into close contact with a person who later tested positive for the coronavirus during events held to mark the reopening of resort island Phuket to vaccinated foreign tourists.

The premier, who has received two AstraZeneca vaccine doses, will continue his work as usual, including closely following the coronavirus outbreak situation in the country, according to Mr Anucha Burapachaisri, a government spokesman.

"The prime minister has not tested positive for the virus so far, and will continue to conduct tests," Mr Anucha said in a statement on Monday.

"He will still carry out his duties as normal and will monitor developments closely."

The premier's self-isolation came after a Thai Chamber of Commerce executive confirmed he had tested positive for the virus after attending the Phuket reopening ceremony with Mr Prayut on July 1, according to Thai-language newspaper Krungthep Turakij.

Mr Prayut and several of his cabinet colleagues were in Phuket to welcome the first batch of vaccinated foreign tourists who will not be required to undergo any quarantine as the tourism-reliant nation gradually seeks to reopen its borders and revive its economy.

Thailand's most-famous holiday destination has received 1,893 tourists since July 1, according to official data.

Thailand on Monday reported 6,166 new Covid-19 infections and 50 new deaths, which took the total caseload and fatalities to 289,233 and 2,276, respectively. About 90 per cent of the nation's total infections are from the latest outbreak, which began early in April.

Bangkok, Thailand's capital, remains the epicentre with the most daily cases reported each day.

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