Thai man dies from coronavirus infection complications

Agence France-Presse
Thai man dies from coronavirus infection complications
The man tests negative for COVID-19 by February 16 but a lung infection causes the man's multiple organ failure and – despite receiving anti-viral treatment – death on Saturday, disease control officials say

BANGKOK, Thailand – A Thai man has died from complications doctors say were due to the deadly coronavirus, though health officials were reluctant Monday, March 2, to conclusively confirm the cause of his death.

The 35-year-old was diagnosed with dengue fever in January before doctors detected the virus two weeks later and transferred him to Bamrasnaradura Hospital, where many confirmed coronavirus patients are being treated.

He tested negative for COVID-19 by February 16 but the lung infection had caused multiple organ failure and – despite receiving anti-viral treatment – the man passed away Saturday, disease control officials said.

But health officials on Monday pushed back against classifying the man’s death as a coronavirus fatality.

“We are not hiding information as the reason (for his death) is not urgent,” said health ministry spokesman Thaweesin Wissanuyothin during Monday’s daily press briefing.

“We will announce it when the result is clear and formal,” he added.

If confirmed, the death will be Thailand’s first from coronavirus.

The country currently has a total of 43 confirmed cases. Thirty-one people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

The bulk of the confirmed cases were Chinese visitors or Thais who worked in the tourism sector.  (READ: Southeast Asia feels the burn as coronavirus keeps Chinese tourists at home)

The 35-year-old man who died was a consultant for a duty-free store frequented by tourists, near Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Retail giant King Power, which sub-contracts the company that owned the store, said in a statement Sunday the branch where the man worked has been temporarily closed since February 6.

Thailand’s tourism sector – heavily reliant on Chinese tourists – has been hit hard by the virus, which originated from a city in central China. – Rappler.com