COVID-19: Thailand reports first local coronavirus case in 100 days

Bangkok: Health officials in Thailand say a prison inmate has tested positive for the coronavirus in the country’s first confirmed locally transmitted case in 100 days.

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They said on Thursday the inmate is a 37-year-old man who was arrested for drug abuse who was arrested in Aug. 26 and tested positive on Wednesday when brought to the health center of a prison in Bangkok.

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A day earlier, the prime minister had congratulated the nation for having achieved 100 days without any confirmed local cases of the coronavirus. Thailand has sustained relatively light health damage from the pandemic, even though in January it was the first country outside China to confirm a case. But its economy has been devastated by the absence of foreign tourists, who are banned from entry, and by a drop in exports.

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The country’s last locally transmitted case was confirmed on May 24 and announced on May 25.

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New Zealand and Vietnam are two other major countries that have had similar long streaks of no reported cases of local transmission. New Zealand went 102 days before discovering new cases last month, and Vietnam went about 99 days before a new local outbreak. New Zealand reinstituted restrictions after its new outbreak, including a lockdown of the city of Auckland. Taiwan also has gone over 100 days without local transmission.

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Thailand has gradually eased most of the virus-fighting restrictions it imposed starting in March, with the significant exception of continuing to bar most foreign visitors.

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