12 July 2024

The Bang Khae markets cluster of COVID-19 infections has, so far, spread to Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon and Phetchaburi, according to the Public Health Ministry.

Dr. Opas Karnkavinpong, director-general of Disease Control Department, said today that the Bang Khae fresh market, located on the Petkasem Road, is huge and normally frequented by more than 1,000 vendors and shoppers, adding that there are six other smaller markets close by.

He pointed out, however, that the some of the smaller markets are old and poorly ventilated, like the Pornpat fresh market in Pathum Thani, which was blamed for a cluster infections that spread to over ten provinces last month.

Worse still, he said that most of the Thai vendors and their employees, who are mostly migrant workers, do not wear their face masks properly, either wearing them under their chins or under their noses, making it an ideal environment for the spread of the virus.

Of the 85 confirmed cases, Dr. Opas said that 46 are Thais and 39 are migrant workers, adding that shoppers who spend a longer time in the markets and engaged in social conversation with the vendors were more prone to infection.

Citing the Pornpat cluster, he said that the sooner proactive screening is conducted, the faster the spread of the virus could be brought under control, as he urged people who have visited Bang Khae and six other smaller markets to contact health officials at their nearest hospitals or go to the park, next to the Mall Bang Khae on Monday, where a mobile lab will provide free screenings.