Eastern Economic Corridor, Thailand-
A cluster of Covid-19 infections that originally started from alleged illegal gambling establishments in Rayong and then crept up to other Eastern provinces due to gamblers traveling around the area seems to mostly be coming under control according to Thai Public Health officials, although there is a concern in Si Racha, Chonburi.
Trat, which is classified as a deep red zone and highly controlled despite having relatively few cases and several days of zero cases in a row, recorded only one case today of Covid-19. Their classification, according to Public Health Officials, is mostly based on their proximity and ease of travel to other Eastern provinces. This has frustrated local business owners in the province who face strict restrictions and measures despite a relative lack of Covid-19 cases.
Meanwhile, in Rayong, which was the original hotspot of the series of infections of Covid-19, only two cases were announced today and the Governor stated that the situation appeared to be coming under control. Responding to mounting criticism from business owners to be allowed to re-open their business, however, the Governor said the situation needed a bit more time to ensure that things were safe and that Public Health Officials will be monitoring the situation for the next fourteen days before making decisions on allowing restrictions enacted to control Covid-19 to be relaxed. The Governor thanked everyone for their hard work on bringing infections under control and stated he knew how difficult the situation was for business owners and they were working hard to get things opened again.
Chanthaburi announced only one new case of Covid-19 today and also seems to be getting the situation in the Eastern provinces under control.
In Chonburi, 40 cases were announced today, January 9th, 2021. Of those cases, four were in Banglamung, one in Mueang Chonburi, and 35 in Si Racha where a cluster has emerged from a bar called the 90 brewery. Public Health Officials have stated that their main concern is currently on this cluster and associated cases and are asking anyone that visited the location around Christmas and New Year’s to immediately call the Public Health Department for a free Covid-19 test and self-isolate.
Dr. Wichai Thanasopon, the Deputy Director of Public Health for the Chonburi Province stated that a total of 32 cases have come directly from the brewery and 9 people who are close contacts of those cases have also been infected. The remainder of Si Racha cases is mostly associated with previous gambling-related clusters.
A single person who attended a gambling event in Rayong is believed to have started the “super spreader” incident at the brewery and the venue has now recorded a total of 13 employees, 1 musician, and 18 customers that were present at the bar as being Covid-19 positive. The black icons on the chart below show patients with symptoms (mostly mild) and the yellow icons show patients who are asymptomatic.
Dr. Wichai stated that active case finding was taking place at a “significant level” to discover all the contacts and timelines of the people who had been to the bar. He stated that many of the patients were “were social and active people” which made the tracing more difficult. However, he was confident the situation could be brought under control and additional assistance from the Public Health Department had been brought in to help handle the situation.
Reportedly, the Pattaya News notes, Ministry of Public Health officials have ordered the situation be brought under control in the Eastern provinces by the end of the month as they have expressed concern for the business impacts and domestic tourism impacts on an area already hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown last year.
We will continue to keep you updated here at The Pattaya News. We will also be releasing translated English timelines from the Public Health Office as they are released.