According to Thai media reports on Thursday, the first case of Middle East Respiratory Disease (MERS) was detected in the country. However, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha refused to confirm the reports, saying that no MERS patient had been diagnosed in Thailand yet.

Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatnavin said that Thai public health officials were waiting for lab results for confirmation.

The Thailand Public Health Ministry will hold a news conference at 1.30pm (Bangkok time).

Thai Public Health authorities tried to reassure the public and said that the ministry has been taking precautions for the possible emergence of MERS for some time, including monitoring suspected patients with possible symptoms as well as those who have recently returned from the Middle East.

MERS is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered China’s deadly 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

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