Bangkok construction workers infected with both Alpha and Delta strains

Photo via Public Health England

Some workers at a Bangkok constructions camp have tested positive for both the Alpha and Delta variants of Covid-19. The Bangkok Post calls it a “mixed infection” while both Nation Thailand and Thai PBS say the workers tested positive for a hybrid strain of the 2 variants.

Thailand’s Medical Sciences Department director-general Dr. Supakit Sirilak announced the findings today saying 7 construction workers tested positive for both variants. Thai PBS says 6 of them were infected with a hybrid of the mutated strains. Supakit says the cases are not severe

“However, more cases of mixed infection could lead to a hybrid and eventually, a new variant, something we don’t want to see.”

Earlier this month, large construction camps in Bangkok were ordered to be sealed off for 30 days as many Covid-19 clusters have been found at crowded worker settlements. The government says the workers are being provided with food, water and at least 50% of their compensation. Supakit says cases show why it was necessary to seal off the worker camps.

At the construction camp with the “mixed infection” cases, 1,327 of the 1,737 workers tested positive for Covid-19 with around 23% of them infected with the Alpha variant and around 74% infected with the Delta.

The latest and most severe wave of Covid-19 in Thailand was first reported on April 1. Cases in clustered in Bangkok’s Thong Lor nightlife district were said to be the Alpha variant, which was first found in the UK and is more infectious than the original strain of the virus. The Delta variant, which was first found in India, emerged at a construction camp in Bangkok’s Laksi district in May.

Recently, more than 15,000 samples were tested by the Medical Sciences Department. A report from ThaiPBS does not go into detail about where the samples were taken, or during which time period, but the results show that 74% of the samples were positive for the Alpha variant while 24% were the Delta variant. Experts say the Delta variant will soon become the dominant strain in Thailand. In Bangkok, reports say the Delta also already become the dominant strain.

The Beta variant of the virus, which was first found in South Africa, is most prevalent in Southern Thailand. According to ThaiPBS, a 90 year old Belgian national who died after contracting Covid-19 in March was found to be infected with both the Alpha and Beta variants at the same time.

SOURCES: Thai PBS| Bangkok Post

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Tanutam Thawan

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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