Thailand travel advice: Foreign Office issues statement after China coronavirus outbreak

There is currently an ongoing outbreak of the SARS-like coronavirus in certain parts of Asia, with reported cases of the virus in Thailand.

Is it safe to travel to Thailand? Here’s everything you need to know about current travel advice.

What is the coronavirus?

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The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, but cases have now been confirmed in other parts of China and four of these cases have been diagnosed outside of China - with two in Thailand, one in Japan and one in South Korea, following travel to Wuhan, China.

There is currently an ongoing outbreak of the SARS-like coronavirus in certain parts of Asia, with reported cases of the virus in Thailand.

Nine people have died and hundreds have been infected with the virus.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that they usually cause “mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives.

“These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time.”

Symptoms may include:

The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China

- runny nose

- headache

- cough

- sore throat

- fever

- a general feeling of being unwell

However, human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia, bronchitis or more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Is it safe to travel to Thailand?

With the virus having been found in China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, guidance has been issued regarding safe travel.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office explains that Public Health England has offered advice to travellers, and that additional health screening measures may be in place.

When it comes to travelling to Thailand, the FCO has not issued a warning against travel to Thailand relating to the coronavirus outbreak. However, previous advice relating to travel to certain areas of Thailand due to safety concerns still stands.

The FCO “advise against all but essential travel to areas within the provinces on the Thailand-Malaysia border, including:

- Pattani

- Yala

- Narathiwat

Southern Songkhla province. This does not include areas north of and including the A43 road between Hat Yai and Sakom, and areas north-west of and including the train line which runs between Hat Yai and Pedang Besar.”

Concerning China travel, Gov.uk said, “Based on the latest information and analysis, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is evidence of limited human to human transmission of the virus.

“Currently, the risk to the UK population is very low and the risk to travellers to Wuhan is low, but the situation is under constant review.

“However, in line with our robust preparedness activities for emerging infections, we have issued clinical guidance for the detection and diagnosis of Wuhan Novel Coronavirus. There are no confirmed cases of this new infection in the UK.”

‘Maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene’

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, Public Health England, said, “Based on the available evidence, the current risk to the UK is very low. We are working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review.”

However, Dr Phin has advised that those travelling to Wuhan “should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms.”

Anyone who develops respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan should seek medical attention, either in China or on their return to the UK, “informing their health service prior to their attendance about their recent travel to the city.”