Israeli tourist ‘caught sunbathing on Thai island beach after fleeing Covid-19 quarantine’

An Israeli tourist who had Covid-19 was arrested after allegedly fleeing a Thai quarantine centre – before going sunbathing on a beach.

Ohad Baruch, 29, arrived in Bangkok, Thailand, before checking into a holding hotel in the Sukhumvit Road area of the capital where he was supposed to wait for the results of the PCR test.

However, the holidaymaker allegedly escaped on December 17 before the results came back and headed straight to the notorious red-light district party city of Pattaya where he unsuccessfully tried to check in to a new hotel.

Shockingly, the test result came back as positive – sparking panic amid heightened tensions over the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.

Meanwhile, Ohad had allegedly hired a car and was around 500 miles away in the south of the country relaxing on a beach on the popular holiday island of Koh Samui.

Officers finally arrested the tourist in his beachwear on Wednesday, December 22 and he was remanded in custody.

Police Lieutenant General Suwat Chaengyodsuk said: ‘The foreign man arrived in Thailand through the Test & Go program. He disappeared and a court warrant was made for his arrest. He later contacted the Israeli embassy to turn himself in and he was arrested.

‘Such actions are considered a violation of the emergency decree. The foreigner did not comply with the Communicable Disease Act. We are in the process of questioning him, and will allow him to receive the needed treatment.’

The Royal Thai Police said that while they were hunting Ohad, who arrived in Thailand on December 16, they ordered immigration officers to coordinate with the tourist police to track down the suspect. They traced his whereabouts to the city of Pattaya in Chonburi province.

Ohad allegedly tried to get a room in the beach city, but was denied accommodation because he refused to show his passport. He continued to roam around the area before returning to Bangkok on December 19.

Ohad then rented a car to travel to the south of Thailand on December 20. Pictures of the Israeli man taken in Chumphon province surfaced as he headed to Koh Samui island on the same day.

The runaway tourist was finally arrested at a hotel restaurant on the island while meeting a friend. Police also found the rented vehicle parked at Nathon Beach.

Police Lieutenant General Suwat Chaengyodsuk added: ‘The actions of the tourist were irresponsible. Nobody should do anything like this.’

Under Thailand’s ‘Test and Go’ program, fully-vaccinated tourists flying in from 63 pre-approved nations were able travel freely across Thailand, provided they test negative for Covid-19 during a one-night quarantine.

However, the scheme has been temporarily suspended following the rise of Omicron cases in Europe and visitors now have to do the Phuket sandbox quarantine option or 14 days in hotel quarantine.