Thailand’s 1st case of ‘Indian variant’ found in pregnant woman back from Pakistan

Photo: Suvarnabhumi Airport
Photo: Suvarnabhumi Airport

Thailand on Monday confirmed that it had the first case of a “double mutant” variety of COVID-19 first identified in India. 

Among 1,630 new COVID-19 infections announced today by Thai health officials was a pregnant Thai woman who had returned from Pakistan and was found infected with one of three twice-mutated varieties that are highly contagious and may be resistant to existing vaccines, according to Apisamai Srirangsan of the COVID-19 task force.

The woman, who is 25 weeks pregnant, arrived in Thailand on April 24 with her three sons. All had entered state quarantine when the mother and her 4-year-old son tested positive for COVID-19 a few days later. 

Yesterday, the Emerging Infectious Diseases Health Center of the Thai Red Cross conducted a test and confirmed that the mother’s variant was one of three that has further mutated from a variant identified as B1617 that first emerged in India in October, Apisamai said.

As of last month, the strain had been found in at least 17 countries, including the United Kingdom, United States and Singapore, according to the WHO.

Fear of its spread – and others – led Thai officials to shut down air travel from India late last month and launch a crackdown this past weekend on its porous borders.

Nonetheless, the strain is rumored to have already made it into Thailand by way of a Thai student recently returned from India. But not to fear, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin responded last week that it was “fake news” and ordered a search for whoever spread the information.

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