The Department of Medical Sciences has confirmed that the Israeli tourist who left his quarantine hotel in Bangkok and went to Koh Samui tested positive for Omicron.
Dr Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said that a RT-PCR test on 29-year-old Ohad Baruch, who broke quarantine regulations and left his hotel in Bangkok to travel to Pattaya and Koh Samui, had returned positive for the latest variant.
However, the tourist’s fourth and latest result was negative, suggesting he was infected when entering the country but has since recovered, Dr Sirilak said.
“Despite his latest test result being negative, Mr Baruch was ordered to be quarantined at Koh Samui Hospital for 10 days,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said Mr Baruch would be punished for violating quarantine regulations.
“It is clear that Mr Baruch has violated the law, so he will be sued in court,” he said.
“In the meantime, he will receive medical treatment according to his health insurance,” Mr Charnvirakul added.
He said the quarantine hotel in Bangkok must also take responsibility for allowing Mr Baruch to leave the hotel without receiving his RT-PCR test result. It is not clear what measures it will face.
“We need to find out what went wrong to prevent a similar incident from recurring,” Mr Charnvirakul said.
Koh Samui district chief Theerapong Chuaychoo said Mr Baruch would be taken to Thong Lor station after leaving hospital, where he will be informed of the charges against him.
Mr Baruch arrived in Bangkok on 17th December and left his hotel in the Sukhumvit area the following day without waiting for his test result.
After learning the Israeli had tested positive for Omicron, Thong Lor police issued an arrest warrant for him for failing to abide by disease control measures in violation of the emergency decree.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or a fine of 40,000 baht.
Later it was discovered that Mr Baruch first visited Pattaya, where he tried to book a hotel room, but he was refused as he was unable to present his COVID-19 test result certificate.
He then travelled south to Koh Samui, where he surrendered to Bor Phut police early Wednesday afternoon.