Two sons of Royal Thai Navy officers who died from pneumonia had no relation to the Covid-19 coronavirus, said the Chonburi public health chief today.
The response followed many rumors on social media and what Chonburi officials called “fake news” that two fairly young men had died from Covid-19, raising fear and concern in the area.
Bulakorn Hutacharoen, 35, passed away suddenly two days after being diagnosed with a lung infection while he was being treated at Chonburi Hospital last Monday, August 10.
His devastated father, Commander Prakit Hutacharoen, said that his son was confirmed dead on August 12 at 6:00 PM. His death had caused an emotional shock towards his family and friends as Bulakorn had always been physically healthy and had never stayed in the hospital or been sick a day in his life, according to him.
A Chonburi doctor identified Bulakorn’s cause of death as a lung infection related to pneumonia and had nothing to do with Covid-19, despite social media rumors and a fearful public.
Prakit told reporters, including from The Pattaya News this weekend: “My son had never had an illness before, he only had some allergies and was overweight. He ran a personal business in Bangkok and had been on a business trip to Japan in December last year, and we didn’t see each other much since, especially during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Prakit’s friend, Lieutenant Commander Sarayut Pinphroh, also mentioned his thirty-nine-year-old son, whose name was not disclosed, who suddenly died in Sattahip district last Friday, August 14, with a similar diagnosis of a lung infection.
Dr. Apirat Katanyutanon, Chief of Public Health in Chonburi, made the announcement on Sunday (August 16) denying the rumors spread on social media that the sons of two navy officers had died of Covid-19.
The Chief told the Associated Press: “The cause of death of the two patients has been verified as pneumonia as initially diagnosed. The relatives of the two deceased have also been well-informed. Multiple tests for Covid-19 have been performed and all have come up as negative. The local population can relax as there is no sign of Covid-19 in either deceased person.”
“Neither of the two deaths had a history associated with the virus nor were related to the state quarantine facility in Chonburi. Although, one had a report of returning from Japan but it was long before Japan had any reports of COVID-19 cases. He had not been in Japan for many months and long past any potential incubation period of the Covid-19 virus. Additionally, neither were involved as some rumors stated with foreign soldiers or military exercises involving foreigners. Multiple tests prove neither victim died from or with Covid-19.”
Apirat said that he also confirmed the case to his immediate supervisor, including provincial governors and the executives of the Ministry of Public Health, to prevent further misunderstandings. All reviewed the information and confirmed there was no evidence of Covid-19.