COVID-19 second wave in Thailand
After months of a brief high with minimal community cases and life back to normal, Thailand faces a grim potential COVID-19 second wave.
821 cases were found to be linked to Mahachai Market in Samut Sakhon, as reported by Coconuts Bangkok. This is a frightening number compared to the usual single-digit increases in cases the country has gotten used to.
Seafood market in Samut Sakhon a virus hotspot
on 18th December, a 67-year-old vendor at Mahachai Market tested positive for the virus, subsequently passing it on to 3 family members.
The market is now a virus hotspot and cases have spread across the region to Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Ratchaburi, Saphanburi, and Nakhon Pathom.
Mahachai Market is one of the biggest seafood markets in the province
Image credit: Trip Advisor
On Monday, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) recorded 382 new infections, out of which 360 were migrant workers. The influx in cases tied back to visitors of the market as well as domitory workers from Myanmar living in close quarters.
Health officials have since begun screening migrant workets in Samut Sakhon to monitor the number of cases – Bangkok Post reports the results of 2,600 tests are still pending as of 22nd December.
Spokesperson for the CCSA Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin also shared that they plan to test 10,300 more migrant workers believed to be linked to Mahachai Market.
With the New Year around, life as seemingly gone back to normal with restaurants opening again and countdown parties planned. Social distancing and quarantine almost seem like a thing of the past, until now.
In light of the recent developments, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha warned of an “unavoidable” lockdown should people not cooperate with officials to contain the outbreak. Bangkok Post also reported that the PM was going to access the situation over a course of 7 days before deciding whether to go ahead with New Year and Children’s Day celebrations.
Measures taken to contain virus
Bangkok governer Aswin Kwanmuan has ordered schools near Samut Sakhon to close till 4th Jan and urged those that travel to the province for work to work from home.
At entertainment venues like pubs and clubs will implement strict social distancing measures, with dancing now off the table. Masks are also mandatory at markets to avoid a saga of the outbreak at Mahachai Market.
The Public Health Ministry has also taken the necessary precautionary measures, such as turning migrant workers’ apartments into temporary quarantine centres.
2020 is soon coming to an end and people have been waiting to celebrate its closure, but COVID-19 has proven that it has no time limit. Remember to stay indoors whenever possible and keep masked and sanitised frequently.
This is a developing story, stay tuned for updates.