A Danish family has been placed in solitary confinement in Thailand after their 18-year-old daughter tested positive for covid-19 upon arrival in the country.
According to BT, the family left for Thailand on December 20 for what was supposed to be the Christmas and New Year holidays. Prior to departure, they felt they had taken all necessary precautions and familiarized themselves with the applicable travel restrictions, and all tested negative before boarding the plane. Upon arrival at Phuket Airport, they were tested again before being taken to their hotel in Koh Lanta in Krabi province a five-hour drive away.
Here, they had to stay in their hotel room while awaiting the return of the results. The five-hour transfer was not something the family originally booked, but something that the Tui travel agency, through which they booked the trip, had arranged because it didn’t is currently not possible to fly directly to Krabi. The transfer had been sold as a two hour ride, not five.
âWhen we sat down at the hotel the test results came back. Nicolaj and I tested negative, while Emili tested positive. And then things started to happen, âsays Joy AhlstrÃ¶m.
Hospital isolation at a local Thai hospital
Because their hotel was not a so-called ALQ hotel, which was specially designed for people at high risk of covid-19, Thai authorities chose to isolate the whole family and they were transferred to a local hospital by ambulance. At the hospital, they were met by staff in protective gear, and Joy and Nicolaj were allowed to be in the same room, but Emili was isolated in a room on her own.
âOur daughter is 18 and luckily very independent, so we didn’t worry. But it’s not nice to think that your child is alone in a hospital abroad, âsays Joy AhlstrÃ¶m.
The staff have been very nice, but the level of safety in Danish hospital conditions has increased significantly, and most if not all communication is by phone, she adds.
Joy and Nicolaj were, after another negative test on Christmas Eve, transferred to an ALQ hotel, where they must remain in isolation until December 28 if they continue to test negative.
Emili will be alone in the hospital until December 31 at the earliest when, after 11 days of isolation, she will be allowed to leave. This means the family’s Christmas vacation together is reduced to four days before they return home on January 4, 2022.
No help from Tui
During the isolation, the family tried to get help from Tui, but the necessary help was not provided, the family said.
When they write to the local Tui guide in the travel agency app, a Mallorcan guide responds and the answer is they can’t help. âTui has declined all responsibility. They said there was nothing they could do. They said that from there it is at SOS International that we have to stop, but because we will not die, we are not a priority. And that’s also fair enough, but it’s still very frustrating, âsays Joy AhlstrÃ¶m.
âThey came to the hospital with a bag of sweets for Emili, but beyond that, we felt very lonely. And it’s not pleasant in a vulnerable situation, âsays Joy AhlstrÃ¶m.
Stay at home!
The family’s advice to the other Danes who are about to leave for Thailand is therefore very clear: âStay home!
âInstead, have fun at home and wait for the world to improve to deal with covid. This is insane. I regret that we left. It’s a shame to spend your vacation like this. And worst of all is being separated from your children. You really have to have strong kids for this to be possible, âJoy AhlstrÃ¶m tells BT.
You regret the lack of communication
Tui Denmark’s communications director Mikkel Hansen is sad to learn about the experiences of the AhlstrÃ¶m family and promises to deal with the matter.
âNone of our clients should feel that communication with our guide service is not in order. No one has to feel alone, and especially not in a situation like the one you are talking about here, where customers really need their travel agency. This is not good, and we will follow up immediately, âhe told BT