A 75-year old man who had sought medical treatment in Bangkok unwittingly became positive of the deadly MERS virus. The man has had the first confirmed case of this viral respiratory illness in Thailand, a Buddhist country of more than 65 million people.
Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said on Thursday that two laboratories had confirmed the results. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is an illness caused by a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) which affects the respiratory system (lungs and breathing tubes).
The man, who is from the Middle East, has already been quarantined at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi Province. He was traveling with three other family members who are now also being closely monitored.
Aside from his family, the Public Health Ministry said 59 persons including nearby passengers on the airplane, a taxi driver and those who had close contact with the man are being observed as well.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called the public to remain calm despite the Mers virus discovery. The government is also now checking the 67 entry points all over the country.