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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Nightlife continues to play a major role in Thailand’s Covid-19 third wave

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Krystal Club Thonglor25 is one of many high-end clubs where Covid-19 spread

The current surge in Covid-19 infections now looks to be spread in large part by Thailand’s colourful nightlife, with more than 500 people contracting the more contagious UK variant (B117) of the Coronavirus. The government responded by closing all bars and entertainment venues in 41 provinces, but it may be too late to prevent a third wave of the pandemic. Many people now are critical, pointing to the first and second wave as harbingers of how the party nightlife can so easily transmit Covid-19.

At the beginning of the pandemic, partiers in Bangkok’s Thong Lor area began testing positive for Covid-19 last March. The Public Health Ministry instructed everyone to follow safety measures to prevent a big outbreak. The area is well known to be a hotspot for Bangkok’s wealthy elite and powerful with its multitude of high-end luxury clubs and bars. Although the first major cluster was at a Muay Thai boxing stadium, it was the gatherings around Bangkok’s nightlife that exacerbated the spread.

After infections started spreading, all nightlife was closed until July when Thailand overall had gained some control and contained the Coronavirus more successfully than most countries. In fact, it would be months before any new infections were diagnosed in the area.

While it’s commonly known that the next wave of Covid-19 in Thailand started in Burmese migrant worker camps centred around the Samut Sakhon seafood markets, even the second round of infections was proliferated by people enjoying the nightlife around Thailand and gambles dens in Con Buri.

There was also the case of a woman in the North who went to several bars before knowing that she had contracted the virus in January, and, when the details of her bar-hopping were released, many customers of a bar she attended in Chiang Mai had already contracted Covid-19 as well.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok, Techin “DJ Matoom” Ploypetch held a lavish all-night party in a luxury hotel in January. Facing criminal charges for violating Covid-19 restrictions, he has recovered from the virus himself but the party became a spreader event. None of these nightlife outbreaks stopped people from pouring back into the club scene as soon as it reopened in February.

Now Thailand is facing a massive shutdown with the threat of a third wave of Covid-19 inescapable. One major factor in the rapidly spreading infections is trendy evening entertainment venues around Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya among other areas. A 35-year-old man who contracted Covid-19 reported he had been partying in Thong Lor the month before. Testing clubgoers from bars and entertainment venues in the area revealed an outbreak of Covid-19 infections.

Krystal Club Thonglor25 gained attention as powerful politicians and the wealthy elite that frequent the club so often it’s nicknamed “Government House 2”. 1/3 of Thailand’s cabinet ministers are currently self-isolating and it was rumoured that the Transport Minister had gotten C0vid-19 from visiting the infamous Krystal Club, though rumours were later dispelled.

But growing anger has emerged towards the upscale party-going set, with the hashtag #thonglorpub trending across social media since Wednesday, and many people complaining as the country closes down entertainment venues for the next two weeks and maybe facing further lockdown procedures.

The bar and club scene is a hotspot for Covid clusters since social distancing and mask-wearing are rarely enforced, in poorly ventilated rooms with throngs of tightly packed people. A list has emerged of high society hot spots where anyone in attendance in the past few weeks is being requested to get Covid-19 tests right away after customers at each has tested positive for covid.

  • Krystal Club Thonglor25
  • Bar Bar Bar,
  • Ekamai Beer House,
  • Emerald Thonglor13
  • Dirty Bar
  • Bottoms up Thonglor
  • AINU Hokkaido lzakaya & Bar
  • the Cassette Music Bar Ekamai
  • 63 Music House Ekamai

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Bill

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    covid hates fun. Better to live in a shack in Isaan far away from civilization (and viruses)

  2. Avatar

    Jong

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    And you believe if covid entry in country is for parties and not for refuggies from Myanmar????

  3. Avatar

    Vita

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 5:22 am

    You are liar!!!!

  4. Avatar

    John

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 9:00 am

    What a surprise… you mingle with hundreds of strangers without mask in a “cozy” space and contract a highly transmissible virus… oh, how is that possible? Thailand has become too complacent, government not enforcing the law, and currently “uninfected” feel invincible… bad news, this virus does not discriminate and whether old or young, rich or poor, black or white, male or female… you can get it and get seriously sick…
    Wondering how a country with supposedly 160+ ICU beds in the country will be able to compete, … let’s open up the economy even more and let the virus mutations from all around the globe join the party. Because money is more important than life?!?

  5. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 9:07 am

    I have absolutely no sympathy for the “It’s been so long since I’ve seen my friends and partied with them…” group.

    They have fueled outbreaks across Europe and the world, and now here, at home.

    It just smacks of immaturity and irresponsibility to endanger society, as a whole, for what is essentially a very selfish reason.

  6. Avatar

    Stardust

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 9:26 am

    So this minister/pms/government officials who were vaccinated with the Chinese Sinovac got Covid? Interesting, but were are the journalists to ask about?

  7. Avatar

    pascal

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 9:48 am

    i would say we do not have the whole picture of how and where the virus did spread yet.this might be just the tip of the iceberg.

  8. Avatar

    Ben

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 10:52 am

    This is not rocket science. Of course these nightspots are mass COVID spreading venues.

    Now that vaccinations have begun they should keep all of these nightlife venues closed until they are well into the vaccination process. Why reopen when you’re potentially within months of solving this problem?

  9. Avatar

    sam

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    There are still many skeptics out there thinking that the virus is a scam and they stubbornly refuse to take precautions.If they get infected,they should not blame others,but themselves. Furthermore,they do not realise that they can easily affect others.

  10. Avatar

    Ian

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    Ben it’s been over a year and it’s not been solved Thailand has missed the boat so to speak it will take them yrs to vaccinate everyone at 15,000 vaccinations a day do the maths there’s 70 million people the Thai government is to blame they havent got a clue how to deal with it, My country England seem to be getting on top of it but it coyld still blow up in thier faces if they come outa our lockdown to quickly time will tell

  11. Avatar

    Gupran

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 5:39 am

    The important thing to preventive measure is the mask, never open it when you go outside from home.
    Once you open, you will get the risk.
    Hope that the covid19 spread will go down.

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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