A YEAR ago now we were on holiday with friends in Thailand as the warning signs about Covid-19 were beginning to emerge in Europe. In January, Thailand itself had registered the first case of the virus outside of China.
There was no sense of alarm but a great deal of sensible precaution. Mask-wearing was mandatory. In hotels and shopping malls, temperature screening was routinely applied on entry. The Thais do not go in for contact greetings anyway, but that was definitely out.
Thailand had relatively recent experience of pandemics, having got avian influenza wrong in 2009 and learned the lessons which were available for the world to apply. The main one was an echo of the World Health Organisation’s key advice: “Test, test, test”. Soon, 250 testing stations were set up throughout the country.
As we flew home from Bangkok airport, our temperatures were checked one last time. In retrospect, of course, we would have been much safer staying since Thailand has had…