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