Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul receives the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine administered in Thailand, from Sinovac, at Bamrasnaradura Institute of Infectious Diseases in Nonthaburi on February 28, 2021. (Government House Photo)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul tested positive for Covid-19 after returning from meetings in France and Switzerland and was unable to attend the weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Mr. Anutin attended the 170th General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris on June 20-21, where he affirmed that Thailand is ready to host the Specialized Expo 2028 in Phuket.
He then attended the 50th meeting of the UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board (PCB) in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 21-24.
Mr Anutin and his entourage, which included senior officials from the health and foreign ministries, returned to Thailand on Sunday.
Permanent Health Secretary Kiattiphum Wongrajit said when Mr Anutin returned he had muscle aches and a sore throat. He took an antigen test, which came back positive for Covid-19. Doctors advised him to self-isolate for a week for treatment, Dr Kiatiphum said.
Mr Anutin said he had requested time off from the cabinet meeting. He believed he caught the virus during the trip because he had encountered many people who were not wearing face masks. While giving speeches and chairing meetings, he also had to remove his mask.
Mr Anutin was the first person in Thailand to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.
Local vaccination started on February 28, 2021 at the Bamrasnaradura Institute of Infectious Diseases in Nonthaburi Province. He received a dose of Sinovac. He was vaccinated six times before being confirmed infected with the virus.
According to the minister’s FC Facebook page, he had previously received two injections from Sinovac, two from Astra-Zeneca and one from Pfizer, and there is a picture of him receiving a sixth dose, Pfizer, on June 13.