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Thai cave survivors set to meet families

Some of the 12 boys and their soccer coach who were rescued from a cave in northern Thailand after more than two weeks will meet their families on Wednesday for the first time since coming out, doctors treating the group said.

The parents of eight of the 13 will be allowed to visit their ward in the provincial hospital of Chiang Rai and talk to them from a distance of 2 metres away while wearing special clothes and gloves.

Another four boys and the coach, who were the last to be brought out from the cave on Tuesday, will be kept in quarantine for at least one more day to prevent the risk of contagious diseases.

A doctor said that a security protocol had to be maintained as their immune systems had weakened after being trapped in the cave since June 23.

Their families can see and talk to them through glass in the door of their room.

Amporn Srivichai, aunt of the coach, said she wanted to hug her nephew.

The whole team is recovering well and is out of danger, even though they have lost an average of two kilograms due to spending nine days in the cave without food.

Doctors said that three boys have shown mild symptoms of pneumonia and one is being treated for a cut on his right leg.

Ophthalmologists are checking the boys' eyesight after they spent such a long time in the dark.

The team - called the Wild Boars - have been provided with a soft diet such as rice and chicken, in addition to vitamin supplements.

The first four boys to come out of the cave on Sunday could be given a more diverse dinner on Wednesday.

The 12 boys, between 11 and 16 years old, and their coach, 25, had gone into the cave after finishing soccer training, but a heavy rainstorm flooded the cave and blocked their way out, trapping them inside.

Nine days later the soccer team was found, hungry and weak, four kilometres into the cave.

In a major rescue operation, the boys were all removed from the cave over three days, with the last four boys and coach coming out on Tuesday.

© AP 2018

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