12 more COVID-19 cases in Samut Sakhon, but no lockdown yet

Twelve more COVIDD-19 cases, related to 67-year old infected shrimp vendor at a market in the Muang District of Thailand’s coastal province of Samut Sakhon, have been recorded today (Saturday). This raises the number of locally-acquired cases to 13, but public health officials claim that the Samut Sakhon case is different because Thai health officials are better prepared to deal with the situation.

CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Wissanuyothin also said that there is no lockdown yet in Samut Sakhon, because the public has been very cooperative with health officials.

The new cases include three close relatives of the 67-year old infected woman, a Myanmar employee and his wife, customers who bought shrimp from the infected woman and other people living in the market’s neighbourhood, said Dr. Sophon Iamsirithavorn, director of the Communicable Diseases Division of the Disease Control Department, today.

Of 1,935 saliva samples, taken from high and low-risk people in the central shrimp and Talay Thai markets, results of 1,449 have been released, with only two of them positive, he added.

He assured that the seafood market is different from the wet market in China’s Wuhan, where COVID-19 first broke out, because it is not an enclosed space, with better ventilation. The area was also cleaned and disinfected immediately after the first infection was confirmed. Dr. Sophon also said that it is safe to eat seafood sold in Samut Sakhon, as long as it is well cooked.

Disease Control Department Director-General Opas Karnkawinpong said that health officials have gone on the offence in their search for infected people, by trying to analyse as many as 2,000 samples per day.

The information gleaned from the test results will be assessed to determine the likely future spread of the infection, he said, adding that hospitals, clinics and drug stores in the province have been instructed to advise anyone, who suspects they may have contracted the disease, to visit hospitals for COVID-19 tests immediately.

The seafood market reopened for normal business today, with the exception of the section where the 67 year old worked, after a one-day closure. Two mobile labs are stationed there as health officials take saliva samples from migrant and Thai workers for testing.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, accompanied by senior health officials, visited the market, Friday night to assess the situation.  He assured that the situation is under control and that tourists can still visit the province without fear of infection, if they strictly observe the basic health guidelines.

CCSA today recorded 34 new COVID-19 cases today, including the 12 cases in Samut Sakhon. The others include people arriving from Germany, the US, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Bahrain, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, the Netherlands, India and Italy.

Cumulative infections in Thailand, to date, are 4,331, with 4,024 recoveries.  247 others are still being treated in hospitals.

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