Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health on Monday announced the country’s first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, in a U.S. citizen who entered Thailand nearly a week ago.
The 35-year-old American had been living in Spain for a year, officials said, and was inoculated in June with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Dr. Suphakit Sirilak, director general of the Department of Medical Sciences, told reporters that the man, who was not identified, was first tested for the virus on Nov. 30 and received a positive result the following day, with a strong indication that the infection had been caused by the variant.
He was tested again on Dec. 3, and the results confirmed that it was Omicron.
Last month, Thailand became one of the first Southeast Asian countries to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated tourists, allowing arrivals by air from 63 countries, including the United States, China, India, Southeast Asia and much of Europe. Fully vaccinated visitors from those areas must take a P.C.R. test on arrival and stay one night in an approved hotel while awaiting the result.
The country pushed to reopen in an attempt to revive its economy, even as it struggled to reduce Covid-19 case numbers. About one-fifth of Thailand’s economy depends on tourism, and before the pandemic it was one of the world’s top tourist destinations, drawing nearly 40 million visitors in 2019.
Thailand reported more than 4,000 new cases of the virus on Monday, for a total of 2.1 million.
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