Thai health officials on Monday confirmed that a Thai woman and her four-year-old child from Pakistan had tested positive for the Indian variant of coronavirus—which is believed to be more contagious.
This is the first case in Thailand, in which the Indian type virus has been confirmed whereas both mother and son are currently in quarantine.
Thailand banned travellers from India, other than Thai citizens, starting on May 1 in response to a massive outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the South Asian nation that began in early April. India has reported more than 22.6 million infections, second only to the United States, and more than 246,000 deaths. Both figures are widely believed to be undercounted.
Thailand extended the entry ban to foreigners visiting from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal on Monday to keep the Indian variant from spreading, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanee Sangrat said.
The virus has been confirmed at a time when Thailand is facing a new wave of coronavirus starting in April this year.
The wave began in an expensive area of Bangkok then spread to several Bangkok settlements. Most of the recent patients have been confirmed to have the British variant, the type of coronavirus found in the UK.
This species spreads faster than the original species discovered last year.
Thailand announced on Monday that 1,630 new cases of the coronavirus had been reported in the country, bringing the total to 85,005, with a total death toll of 421, including 22 new deaths.
In a separate statement, Apisamai Srirangsan, deputy spokesman for the Thai government's Center for COVID-19 Administration, said Thai authorities were "deeply concerned" about the number of people entering the country illegally, most of them from neighbouring countries Cambodia and Myanmar.
The spokesman said the Indian version of the virus was found in a 42-year-old pregnant woman who arrived in Thailand on April 24 with her three sons. Her two eldest sons have been kept in a separate room, as the virus has not been confirmed in them.
According to reports from India, 22.6 million people are currently infected with the disease, and 246,000 have died. However, these two numbers are thought to be much lower than the actual number.
India is the second country after the United States where the epidemic is so widespread.