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Health officials move to quell panic over new Covid cluster in Bangkok

Maya Taylor

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Health officials move to quell panic over new Covid cluster in Bangkok | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

With proactive testing in Bangkok revealing a new cluster of 96 infections in the Bang Khae district, health officials have moved to allay fears of another wave of the virus. Between March 7 and 13, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration tested 4,046 people at various markets in Bang Khae, with 96 testing positive and the remainder still waiting on results.

Opas Karnkawinpong from the Department of Disease Control says conditions in the markets, many of which have low ceilings and poor ventilation, were favourable to the spread of the virus. He has also highlighted the fact that workers wore masks incorrectly.

“Even though vendors wore masks, they still kept them below their noses which defeated the intended purpose. Failing to wear masks properly will heighten the risk of infection.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, the 96 patients found to be infected were all among 2,335 people tested at Wonder Market. They have all been sent to hospital for treatment. 764 others have been found to be negative, with the remainder waiting for their results, along with 1,711 people tested at the nearby markets of Bang Khae shopping centre, Sirisetthanont, Kitti Market, Talat Mai Bang Khae Market, Phasom Market and Talat Klong Kwang.

Opas says that provincial health officials in neighbouring provinces have been alerted to a number of local residents who visited the Bang Khae markets. It’s understood 1 is from Samut Sakhon, 5 are from Suphan Buri, 6 from Phetchaburi, and 3 from Nakhon Pathom. The governor of Suphan Buri, Natthapat Suwanprateep, has already confirmed that 5 locals who visited Bang Khae have tested positive and are receiving hospital treatment.

The DDC is moving to reassure people that the new cluster of infections does not risk becoming more widespread, with Opas pointing out that the markets in question are not wholesale markets and people’s movements are easy to monitor.

“This is a new cluster, but not a new wave of an outbreak. New cases have been found constantly, though the number is still small. However, with cooperation from market operators, vendors and the public, the situation will be brought under control shortly as in the case of Pornpat Market in Pathum Thani which has now re-opened.”

He adds that anyone who visited the markets in the past 10 days and who has lost their sense of taste or smell can have a free medical check-up at any local hospital. Mobile testing units are also offering free tests at a public park near the Bang Khae shopping centre.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Rick

    Monday, March 15, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Health officials move to quell panic?? This must be satire. The health officials, along with the media, are the ones SPREADING THE PANIC by using a “Covid test” that does not work to claim that there are bogus outbreaks – assisted by a subservient media that reports any nonsense fed to them by these same officials without questioning. And then the same media reports on the very “panic” they helped to create. What a farce!

  2. Avatar

    Rasputin

    Monday, March 15, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    Let’s hope they can get it under control quickly, if they can’t, it could well result in carnage in a tightly packed city such as Bangkok.

  3. Avatar

    Bill

    Monday, March 15, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Covid!!! Run and hide isaan john.

  4. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 1:20 am

    They tested 2335 people. From the 860 results that came back, 96 were positive, 764 negative. That’s a ratio of 11% positive. The virus is alive and well in parts of Bangkok.

  5. Avatar

    Andre

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 1:24 am

    Now that would mean that more than 2% of the tests came back positive – at least for that limited selection of people. On par with numbers seen in europe which have a surge of infections these days.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded

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Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: VIP clubs and their wealthy customers may have violated rules and led to Covid-19 outbreaks

Investigations are being demanded by a corruption watchdog into Thai politicians infected with Covid-19 after allegedly attending venues in the Thong Lor entertainment venues in Bangkok that have now emerged as the ground zero for the Coronavirus third wave in the Kingdom.

The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand are being asked to investigate the latest Covid-19 outbreak, noting in a Facebook post that the second wave was also linked to illegal activities, spreading through illegal migrants and other visiting gambling dens. This third wave is also angering those who see the wealthy elite and powerful politicians frequenting high-end bars and not following Covid-19 safety protocols.

Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of ACT argues that the ministers visiting these clubs did not behave “ethically”, and it’s part of a larger problem. He is pushing for legal action against not only club owners, but against police, public health officials, and even the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration for failing to enforce laws to protect against Covid-19.

Investigations into whether the code of ethics had been violated were requested to be carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ombudsman and the committee on ethical standards.

As entertainment venues have been ordered closed for at least 2 weeks, Mana proposes that along with restrictions, a hotline to report rule-breakers should be set up, and all people should be held to the same standard without exception.

The president of the Rural Doctors Society agreed, saying that especially important is the need for Covid-19 infected public officials to disclose their personal timelines to reassure the public and assist in contract tracing. It is feared that little or no action will be taken to investigate and punish powerful rulebreakers.

One controversial infection was that of Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, rumoured to be infected from Thong Lor nightclubs, but later shown to be in another province at the time. The entertainment venue outbreak was not completely innocent though, as details emerged that the minister’s infection was in fact passed to him via an aide who had frequented clubs in Thong Lor.

Chuvit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlour owner turned activist, has been outspoken on the issue, calling for investigations into high-society VIP clubs like Krystal Club and Emerald Club, who allegedly flaunted restrictions and ended up with dozens of Covid-19 infected staff members.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau chief had said that legal action was pending against these clubs for the virus spreading.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Protests

Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests

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Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests | Thaiger
PHOTO: Demonstration attendance has been falling in the face of Covid-19, coups and crackdowns.

While protesters against the Thai government are continuing as they have for endless months, attendance is lessening in the face of crackdowns, coups and Covid-19. The throngs of 10,000 plus protesters, mostly energetic youth, that waved The Hunger Games 3 finger salute and demanded change in Thailand last summer have thinned to a few thousand or less these days.

The government isn’t in the clear yet though, as the protester’s calls to replace the current government, lessen the power of the Thai monarchy, and draw up a new constitution are still popular ideas. But a number of factors are causing protester size and vigour to wane.

The second wave of Covid in December quickly curbed the daily demonstrations for fear of spreading the virus. After that, the coup in Myanmar on February 1 has brought massive protests with international attention shifting to the growing humanitarian crisis just across the border. On top of the pandemic and the Burmese coup, the Thai government has taken a much more hardline approach to protesters in recent months.

Police began fighting back against mass demonstrations, dispersing crowds with water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets. And after 2 years of leniency, the government has begun prosecuting people under the strict lèse-majesté laws, where offending the monarchy can carry harsh punishment including a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Anon Nampa, a human-rights lawyer, and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, a student activist, have already been arrested under this law and held without bail. Arrests like these have been demoralising for the pro-democracy movement, and have scared away a lot of Thai protesters. Many have shifted focus to more immediate efforts to demand the release of the detained protest leaders.

Even with the crowds shrinking, the protests have already brought about change, bringing once unspeakable conversations into the national conversation, and keeping pressure on Thailand’s leaders. Opposition is growing, with efforts to push no-confidence votes and amendments to the constitution being constantly proposed and advocated.

SOURCE: The Economist

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