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CORRECTED-Thailand confirms coronavirus case linked to infected Hungarian minister

(Removes extraneous zero in figure cited in last paragraph)

BANGKOK, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Thailand on Tuesday said a Hungarian diplomat had been infected with the novel coronavirus after being in contact with his foreign minister whose tour to the region was suspended last week after he tested positive for the virus.

Cambodian authorities said on Monday at least four coronavirus infections there were believed to be linked to a visit by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and relatives were among more than 1,000 people tested and confirmed negative.

Szijjarto was found to be infected with the coronavirus after arriving in Thailand from Cambodia on Nov. 3, Thai authorities said earlier.

The Bangkok-based Hungarian diplomat, 53, tested positive on Monday. He had been in close proximity with Szijjarto shortly before a test he was given upon entry to Thailand confirmed he was infected, a Thai health official said.

“They were in the same car that picked up the minister and had a meal together,” Sophon Iamsirithaworn, director of the Disease Control Department, told a news conference.

He did not identify the diplomat but said 16 people in Thailand who were exposed to Szijjarto had returned negative tests.

Neither Hungary’s foreign ministry nor its embassy in Thailand responded to requests for comment on the impact of Szijjarto’s visit.

The foreign ministries of Cambodia and Thailand did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hours before arriving in Thailand Szijjarto had met top officials in Cambodia, as well as a member of parliament and Hungary’s ambassador. Those two were among the four cases Cambodian authorities linked to the minister’s visit.

Both Thailand and Cambodia have successfully kept a lid on their coronavirus outbreaks, with 3,844 and 297 infections respectively, due in part to tight entry requirements and quarantine, where most recent infections have been found.

Thailand has recorded 60 COVID-19 deaths and Cambodia none.

By comparison, Hungary has seen a spike in cases since September, reporting an average 4,580 new daily infections and record fatalities in two of the past four days, with Europe’s third-highest death rate per 100,000 people in the past two weeks. (Additional reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok, Prak Chan Thul in Phnom Penh and Gergely Szakacs in Budapest Writing by Martin Petty Editing by Robert Birsel)

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