Thai airport says still limiting virus scans as 7th patient reported

By Jiraporn Kuhakan and Panarat Thepgumpanat

BANGKOK, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Thailand's busiest airport said on Saturday it was awaiting more information from Chinese authorities before deciding whether to expand screening of passengers arriving from China to try to detect the new coronavirus.

Thailand has seven confirmed cases in the outbreak, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Some 41 people have died in China and more than 1,300 have been infected globally, most of them in China.

Bangkok's Survanabhumi Airport said it had begun temperature scans on passengers arriving from Guangzhou and Wuhan, but not all Chinese cities. Flights from Wuhan have been cancelled because it is under quarantine.

"We will perform a virus scan if the Chinese government announces to watch out for other cities apart from Wuhan and Guangzhou," the General Manager of Survanabhumi Airport, Suthirawat Suwannawat, told reporters.

China is Thailand's biggest source of tourists and had nearly 11 million visitors from there last year.

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As concern grows in Thailand over the possibility of a bigger outbreak, some social media users have accused the government of caring more about the money from Chinese tourists arriving during the Lunar New Year holiday than public health.

"Our country can control the situation well. We’ve had patients who are being treated and are improving, many have also gone home," Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters.

Government agencies including the health, tourism and transport ministries are due to meet on Sunday to come up with protective measures to prevent the spread of the virus. (Additional reporting by Artorn Pookasook, Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat Editing by Frances Kerry)

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