[Exclusive] Thai health officials say they will be able to control coronavirus outbreak if no ‘outside factors’ change

Thai officials are confident they can keep the coronavirus outbreak under control in Thailand if current conditions hold, a public health official said on Thursday.

“If external factors remain constant, we are confident that we have the situation under control,” the official told Thai Enquirer on condition of anonymity.

According to the official, China’s travel ban from Hubei Province and Thailand’s increased screening in its airports have helped public officials keep the virus under control.

“We don’t see the number of cases exceeding 100 if the current conditions continue. However, if China lifts its travel ban or we stop being vigilant, then it is possible that the outbreak could get worse,” he said.

Ministry of Public Health officials said on Thursday that there were no new cases of coronavirus with the total number of confirmed cases still at 33. The number of patients quarantined in hospitals to monitor for signs of the virus has also decreased to 150 from over 330 earlier in the week.

The Thai government previously denied a request from public health officials to ban all tourists from China, citing the Beijing-imposed travel ban in Hubei as being already effective and Thailand’s need to not offend China.

Both the Minister of Public Health and the Minister of Tourism have said that by remaining open to China, Thailand will gain Beijing’s trust and long-term benefits.

Chinese tourists contribute significantly to Thailand’s economy. They are the largest nationality group to visit the country.

China

Chinese officials reported 14,840 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the largest spike since the outbreak began, and bringing the total number of cases in China to 59,807 infected.

Chinese state media also said that 242 people died on Thursday, also the largest number of fatalities in a 24-hour period.

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