Statement TCEB MIDDLE EAST RESPIRATORY SYNDROME (MERS): THAILAND SITUATION UPDATE as of 19 JUNE 2015

Current Situation

On 18 June 2015, Thailand’s first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was diagnosed. The patient is a 75-year-old Omani national. Officials have identified 68 people who came in contact with the patient and are deemed at high-risk of MERS infection. Authorities are working methodically to prevent the spread of the virus.

Preventative Measures

A number of key players in Thailand have announced extra measures to prevent the spread of the MERS virus, with agencies joining forces to ensure the safety of all stakeholders.

In collaboration with the Department of Disease Control, Suvarnabhumi Airport has installed thermal imaging cameras at three airside locations under the supervision of health officials to screen the body temperatures of incoming passengers who might have been exposed to virus. The body heat scanners went into service on June 2 at immigration zones 2 and 3 and boarding gate E1, as the airport activated early precautionary measures.

Bangkok’s gateway hub has also worked closely with various agencies concerned including the Immigration Division 2, the Customs Bureau and the Airline Operators Committee (AOC) on common guidelines and measures to control the spread of the outbreak into Thailand.

Airport medical teams are also on standby to monitor visitors coming countries affected by MERS and protective gear, including surgical masks, have been made available.

Thai Airways International (THAI) is also collaborating with the Ministry of the Public Health to closely monitor the situation and take preventative measures in relation to aircraft service provision and safety.

THAI’s preventive MERS measures include screening passengers before check-in and in some cases requiring a doctor’s letter of health certification, monitoring passengers during the flight, spraying an antibacterial solution inside the aircraft while parked at the airport, and deep cleaning and disinfecting 36 touch points in the passenger cabin. Personal protective equipment will also be carried on board and staff will be educated about preventive health care, while raw catering materials will be carefully selected and clean meal preparation methods used to avoid the risk of infection.

Advice to MICE Travellers

The Department of Disease Control, under the Royal Thai Ministry of Public Health, advises all travellers who have visited a MERS CoV-affected area within the past two weeks to call the department hotline on 1422 if they develop influenza-like symptoms such as a fever, acute respiratory tract infection, or cough. Travellers with these symptoms are also advised to visit a hospital and inform their travel history to the physician.

Operation of MICE Industry

International stakeholders are advised that Thailand’s MICE industry continues to operate as normal, and all hotels, venues and attractions are open and ready to welcome MICE travellers.

As the government’s flagship body for the MICE sector, TCEB will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to all stakeholders. Should travellers require any further information or assistance, please call TCEB office: +66 (0) 2694 6000 or TCEB call centre at 1105 (within Thailand only), visit www.tceb.or.th or contact info@tceb.or.th.

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For more information please contact:

Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (Public Organisation)

Ms Arisara Thanuplang    Tel +66 2 694 6095    Email: arisara_t@tceb.or.th

Mr Pishnu Plaikaew    Tel +66 2 694 6000    Email: pishnu_p@tceb.or.th

Ms Kanokwan Kadeedang    Tel +66 2 694 6006    Email: kanokwan_k@tceb.or.th

Ms Kwanchanok Otton    Tel +66 2 694 6096    Email: kwanchanok_o@tceb.or.th