BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG, THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Thailand has detected its first case of the so-called Delta Plus coronavirus variant less than a week before a planned nationwide reopening for vaccinated international visitors.
A 49-year-old man who got infected by the variant, also known as AY.4.2, had been working in Ayutthaya province, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) said on Monday (Oct 25). The man had no history of travel to risk areas or abroad.
"The case was uncovered by the Army Medical Department in September," said Dr Chawetsan Namwat, director of the DDC's emergency disease and health hazards control division.
"The concern about this variant is that it may be a little more contagious than the Delta variant," he said, adding that the Delta Plus variant is believed to have originated in England where it was detected in 6 per cent of Covid-19 patients.
"In Thailand, the Delta Plus situation is still at the monitoring phase," he said.
He added that the patient has fully recovered from the virus and no new cases had been found.
"The emergence of new variants is common during an outbreak, and it'll be a significant occurrence if the variant is more infectious, lead to more severe cases, or more resistant to vaccines," said Deputy Health Minister Satit Pitutecha. "At this point, there's still no cause for concern, and authorities will monitor the situation closely."
Thailand is set to allow vaccinated visitors from 46 jurisdictions to enter the country without a mandatory quarantine from Nov 1 as it loosens travel curbs to restart its struggling tourism industry.
The country saw new Covid-19 cases drop to 7,706 on Tuesday, the lowest one-day tally since early July.