BANGKOK — The Governor of the province at the center of a new wave of COVID-19 outbreak walked out of the hospital Friday after spending nearly three months battling the infection.
Gov. Veerasak Vijitsaengsri was admitted to Siriraj Hospital after he tested positive for the virus in late December. The 59-year-old was in critical condition and breathing with a ventilator after doctors found severe inflammation inside his lungs.
“It’s unbelievable that I’m still alive after being unconscious for 42 days,” Veerasak said at a news conference. “I would like to thank Siriraj and all the support from all over the country. Although I may not be as strong, it’s still better than when I first recovered – when I couldn’t feel my limbs or talk.”
Veerasak is the highest-ranking official to date known to have been infected with the virus. He said he would continue his recovery at home in Ang Thong province for a month before returning to the office. He spent a total of 82 days in the hospital.
The Governor was diagnosed with an infection on Dec. 28, a day after health minister Anutin Charnvirakul and an entourage of key health professionals visited the province where the second wave of outbreak was discovered, though officials said no one else except his wife was infected.
Siriraj’s medicine faculty dean Prasit Watanapha said a dose of Sinovac’s vaccine was administered to Veerasak as part of his treatment and showed to have strengthened his immune system.
“I don’t want the Governor to return to work at the moment since his health is still weak,” Prasit said. “I ask everyone who wants to meet him to wear a face mask, or if it’s not necessary, refrain from seeing him until his immunity is fully restored.”
The shrimp market is Samut Sakhon’s Mahachai seafood bazaar is one of the main clusters in the ongoing outbreak, where at least 16,882 cases were reported since the second wave of outbreak was detected on Dec. 15.
The country’s cumulative number of cases now stands at 27,594 as of Friday.