The Thai air force has blamed the Health Ministry for allowing a delegation of Egyptians to go shopping in Rayong province during a brief stopover in the country late last week.
Yesterday, reports emerged that a group of 30 Egyptians had flown into U-tapao airport and stayed at a hotel in Rayong twice between Wednesday and Saturday.
The group was not required to undergo quarantine procedures as they were classified as aircrew. However, the group was able to leave their hotel and visit shopping malls and other areas of Rayong province, despite the strict rules in place for international arrivals to Thailand.
It later emerged that one of the group tested positive for covid-19, leading to the closure of several schools in Rayong and the government using the ThaiChana tracking system to contact everyone who was at the same locations as the group.
Meanwhile, the air force chief, ACM Manat Wongwit, has firmly placed responsibility for the incident on the Health Ministry’s shoulders.
Speaking on Tuesday morning, ACM Wongwit said that a military aircraft stopping to refuel and allowing the crew and passengers to rest was standard practice.
He continued by explaining that while the air force had the authority to approve or disapprove the stopover, it was the Health Ministry’s responsibility to organize quarantine and covid-19 checks.
According to ACM Wongwit, once a flight was approved by the air force, the Foreign Ministry and embassy would coordinate the stopover and communicable disease prevention measures.
During the immigration process, an emergency operation center (EOC) would screen the destination airport visitors. The EOC is organized by the Public Health Ministry, explained ACM Wongwit.
The Thai government has remained quiet on the matter so far, but further details are expected later today.
Source: Bangkok Post