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Bang Khae cluster of infections linked to four other provinces


The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Monday that 995 people underwent swab tests in six markets of Bangkok’s Bang Khae district, of whom 107 tested positive.

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CCSA spokesperson Apisamai Srirangsan said 2,772 have also been tested using the pooled saliva method and suspected cases will be confirmed via swab tests again.

Location of markets in Bang Khae district where new cluster was found

The virus has spread to at least four provinces from the new cluster of infections in a Bang Khae market. Five cases in Suphanburi, three in Nakhon Pathom, six in Phetchaburi and one in Samut Sakhon are believed to have originated from Bang Khae. It is suspected that the virus was carried by tradesmen who bought products from Bang Khae to sell in their own provinces.

An inspection of the Wonder Market in Bang Khae, conducted on Sunday by the Department of Disease Control (DDC), showed it may have been the source of the new wave of infections as the first case was found there.

A 21-year-old owner of four chicken and egg shops in Wonder Market is believed to have spread the infection. As chief of the rotating savings and credit association in the market, his job is to walk around collecting money from different vendors. His symptoms surfaced on March 1 when he developed a fever and lost his sense of smell and taste. He then went to the hospital on March 5, where he tested positive.

DDC also found that six markets located next to each other had many entrances and people going in and out were not checked. These markets were packed with vendors and customers, especially Wonder Market which had more than 1,200 people milling around. Apart from crowds, the virus also spread easily due to poor airflow and low panels between stalls.

Most of the workers at the markets are migrants who have ignored preventive measures and have continued shouting at each other, chewing betel and wearing their masks incorrectly.

Wonder Market was also found to have not set up a registration system, so it is difficult to report how many people were present each day.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration ordered the closure of Wonder Market on March 7 for a big clean. Free virus tests are being offered at the market from Monday until the situation gets better.

Published : March 15, 2021

By : The Nation