Danish family placed in isolation in Thailand after daughter test positive for covid-19

Emili has been isolated in solitary confinement at the hospital after she tested positive for covid-19.

A Danish family has been placed in isolation in Thailand after their 18-year-old daughter tested positive for covid-19 upon arrival in the country. 

According to BT, the family departed for Thailand on 20 December for what was supposed to be a Christmas and New Year holiday. Before departure, they feel that they took all precautions as well as familiarizing themselves with the applicable travel restrictions, and all tested negative before getting on the plane. Upon arrival at Phuket Airport, they were tested again before they were taken to their hotel on Koh Lanta in the province of Krabi five hours away. 

Here they had to stay in their hotel room while waiting for the results to come back. The five-hour transfer was not something the family had originally booked, but something that the travel agency Tui, through which they have booked the trip, had organized because it is currently not possible to fly directly to Krabi. The transfer had been sold as a two-hour drive, not five.

“When we sat at the hotel, the test results came back. Nicolaj and I tested negative, while Emili tested positive. And then things began to happen,” Joy Ahlström explains.

Hospital isolation at a local Thai hospital

Because their hotel was not a so-called ALQ hotel, specially designed for people at high risk for covid-19, Thai authorities chose to isolate the entire family and they were transferred to a local hospital in an ambulance. At the hospital, they were greeted by staff in protective gear, and Joy and Nicolaj were allowed to be in the same room but Emili was isolated in a room by herself. 

“Our daughter is 18 years old and thankfully very independent, so we haven’t been worried. But it is not nice to think that your child is alone in a hospital abroad,” Joy Ahlström says.

The staff has been very sweet, but the level of safety compared to Danish hospital conditions has increased significantly, and most if not all communication takes place over the phone, she adds. 

Joy and Nicolaj have after another negative test on Christmas Eve been transferred to an ALQ hotel, where they must stay in isolation until 28 December if they continue to test negative. 

Emili will be in the hospital alone until 31 December at the earliest where after 11 days in isolation she will be allowed to leave. This means that the family’s Christmas holiday together is reduced to four days before they travel home again on 4 January 2022.

No help from Tui

During the isolation, the family has tried to get help from Tui, but the necessary help has not been forthcoming, the family says.  

When they write to the local Tui guide in the travel company’s app, a guide in Mallorca responds and the answer is that they can not help. “Tui has disclaimed all responsibility. They said they could not do anything. They said that from here it is SOS International that we need to get a hold-off but because we are not dying, we are not a priority. And that’s also fair enough, but it’s still very frustrating, ” Joy Ahlström says.

“They came to the hospital with a bag of sweets for Emili, but beyond that, we have felt very alone. And it is not a nice feeling in a vulnerable situation,” Joy Ahlström says.

Stay at Home!

The family’s advice to other Danes who are about to leave for Thailand is therefore very clear: “Stay at home!”

“Have fun at home instead and wait for the world to get better at handling covid. This is foolish. I regret we left. It’s such a shame to spend your vacation like this. And worst of all is to be separated from your children. You really have to have strong children for this to be possible,” Joy Ahlström says to BT

Tui regret the lack of communication

Head of Communications for Tui Denmark, Mikkel Hansen, is sad to hear about the Ahlström family’s experiences and promises to take care of the matter. 

“None of our customers should feel that the communication with our guide service is not in order. No one should feel alone, and especially not in a situation like the one you mention here, where customers really need their travel agency. It’s not okay, and we will follow up on that immediately,” he says to BT

Joy and Nicolaj Ahlström have been in isolation in Thailand since they left Denmark on 20 December.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

9 Comments on “Danish family placed in isolation in Thailand after daughter test positive for covid-19”

  1. I’m Singaporean staying in Thailand blame!! blame!! blame everyone but oneself, firstly sir I’m sure you need Thailand to thank you and you family for all you kind patronage and I’m sure they do? But that doesn’t warden the blame game!! language blamed!! If it’s The other way around can Norwegians speak perfect Thai in all your hospitals? Just be lucky Thailand may give you a freebie mecdical care!! Most importantly all is alive and kicking should you all go thank “God” on the Thai people? Please give it a rest!!

  2. Sorry but there are too many restrictions on international travel right now because of covid. I have no plans to travel outside my home country of the United States till covid restrictions are cancelled.

  3. Let’s get this all into real perspective.. you get tested before you fly..many people do this 48 to 72 hours before fly time… that means there is 2 to 3 days one might become infected before you fly.. it is actually a statistical CERTAINTY this will happen to some.. then on top of that you get into an enclosed space..the plane. When there very well may be a few people infected..maybe sitting right beside you. Add to that people are class A stupid when it comes to wearing the mask…all this wrapped together in a nice tiny bow and you will have many many people entering Thailand with covid.. people need to grow up and take some personal care.. not only for yourself bit also for others. My suggestions and the 1st one is a biggie. 1. Do not get on that plane if you feel ill..right now there is no such thing as just a cold. 2. Be prepared to spend 10 days in isolation it will happen to many it could happen to you too. 3. Rethink travel plans if you have small children…actually just don’t do it. Kids are magnets for viruses and the worst at wearing the mask properly..and they cry loudly…if infected that crying will spread viruses worse than anything except maybe singing.. 4. Stop calling covid just a cold… for far too many it’s not. Take it seriously for yourself and others around you..it may save your life and or the person next to you….stop being a selfish twit going around saying I’m strong with a good immune system why worry.. if you can’t do any one of those things.. stay home!

  4. I would suggest to Detective Inspector Carol that she tone down the questions. It’s quite possible the daughter got infected after her initial PCR test but before the flight and it’s very likely she has no idea how she got infected particularly if she caught the Omicron variant. Ask the approximately 1 million Londoners how they got infected in the last few weeks and see how that goes.

  5. The moment you plan your trip to Thailand, you know there’s always the possibility of this happening. Do be prepared.

    Last year i stayed 16 days in quarantine, first and last don’t count towards the quarantine. And it’s not as bad as people make it out. Just need a way to keep busy, laptop, tablet, smartphone,…

    Calling people to stay home is a tad petty, better to tell them to avoid TUI. The Thai people are not at fault here, they just follow regulations that every country has to a degree.

  6. Terrible comment from Carol sadly, the usual “it’s your own fault and everyone else is perfect”. Sadly PCR tests are not 100% certain and there are false positives, so it’s very possible that the test of Emili is one of those. Isolation of someone with the vaccine and a possible covid is absolutely unneeded when half the country is walking around like that.

    What should have been done ? Retest and 5 day quarantine at most in a sandbox situation for the entire family so they could have enjoyed their holiday. Now the imago of Thailand is damaged in the international press which is a way more costly option than making everyone a little more comfortable.

    I live in Thailand, one of the reasons i never get a test (Unless i have to be admitted to a hospital, then it’s mandatory) is exactly this. 11-14 days in isolation for -what- Soon everyone and their cat will have omicron and that’s it.

  7. Hi,

    We (Austrian and German) are experiencing something similar.
    Me and my boyfriend were at the beautiful island in Koh lipe for Christmas. Had planned to stay for 7 nights, but then covid happened.
    My boyfriend didn’t feel well on the 24th of December so we bought a rapid test at the pharmacy and took it at the hotel. The test result came back positive.
    On the island we went to medical clinic to do a rapid test again – again came back positive. On the island they had not the facilities to do a pcr test so we had to go to the main land. Everyone from the island had been really nice to help us, but the situation made us really sad.
    We quickly got put in a speedboat and then the ambulance waited for us, after 2-3hrs of travelling we arrived in a governmental hospital in the province Satun, closed to the Malaysian boarder.
    My boyfriend is now there since Christmas Eve and might need to stay over New Years. The communication is really hard as no one speaks English. The facilities are also really rough and I feel really sorry for my boyfriend who needs to stay in the hospital. He is feeling fine now, no symptoms. But his mental health condition is getting worst.
    We are trying to contact the insurance since 4 days but also no luck so far.

  8. For starters I am wondering how your daughter caught Covid. Second of all to blame the world about getting a better handle on Covid I can say that Thailand is doing an excellent job with their testing, hazmat suits and precautions so that you and I can have a vacation away from the cold.

    This family needs to take responsibility for their actions. What precautions did your daughter take before leaving. Did she hug or kiss any friends before she left. Did this family not realize that before they left there is still a chance of getting tested positive from Covid (and not necessarily be very sick if they are vaccinated) since they are passing through many airports, transportations systems and in contact with many essential workers.

    Their expectations are way too high.They should get off the pity train and stop whining about missing out on Christmas with their daughter. They should be thankful that the daughter is not as sick as she could have been like the Covid cases were in the beginning of the pandemic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.