Thai taxi driver who had coronavirus tells Wuhan to keep fighting

Thai health officials installing a thermal scanner at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand on Jan 24, 2020.
Thai health officials installing a thermal scanner at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand on Jan 24, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - A Thai cab driver who recovered from the new coronavirus after catching it from Chinese tourists said on Wednesday (Feb 5) he wants to encourage the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, to keep fighting the virus.

"I watched the news every day from my quarantine room and send my support to Wuhan," said the 50-year-old driver, who wore a surgical mask to conceal his identity at a news conference.

"Even I can beat it. So can you," the driver said as he was discharged from hospital.

The driver checked himself into hospital after coughing heavily. He was identified as Thailand's first case of human-to-human transmission on Jan 31.

With 25 cases, Thailand has had more virus infections than any other country except China. Nine people have recovered and 16 patients are being treated. The virus has killed nearly 500 people, nearly all of them in China.

"When I found out I had the virus, I cried because I have to take care of my family," the driver said. "But I don't have a bad feeling against tourists or the Chinese. I drive a taxi, tourists are my breadbasket." Thailand received some 11 million tourists from China last year.

Doctors praised the driver for stopping work and reporting himself as soon as he fell ill. His family have all tested negative for the virus.