Covid DJ party guests must cough up timelines or be charged, DDC says

Guests of DJ Matoom’s birthday party must provide full details of their movements or be prosecuted for breaking the law, after several tested positive for Covid-19 following the event, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) told the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Thursday.

Twenty-six confirmed coronavirus cases have been linked to the party hosted by Techin “DJ Matoom” Ploypetch, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said. Some have reportedly refused to give a full account of their movements between attending the event and being diagnosed.

Anyone who has lied, hidden or refused to give up their timeline to investigators to help curb the spread is breaking the law and must be prosecuted, the DDC said, according to CCSA deputy spokeswoman Dr Apisamai Srirangsan.

The disc jockey tested positive himself and triggered public outrage after hosting the “superspreader” birthday event on January 9, in violation of government Covid-prevention measures.

Apisamai said there were still 113 people considered at high risk as they have been in close contact with those who went to the DJ’s party.

“There might be more cases that are related to this cluster that are expected to be reported within this week,” she said.

Referring to some patients’ refusal to cooperate, she said such behaviour violates the state of emergency decree and the Communicable Diseases Act, and consists of providing false statement to authorities.

The DDC also said that the venue that allowed the party to take place could also be prosecuted for failing to follow the government’s guidelines.

Apisamai said the prosecution process for the individuals and the venue will begin in the coming days. The party was arranged at the Banyan Tree Hotel.

People who went to the party could also be breaking state of emergency decree for illegal gathering, which carries a jail sentence of up to two years or a fine of no more than 40,000 baht or both.

The CCSA also reported that it had found 756 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

Of those, 746 were local infections and 10 were found in quarantine facilities, according to CCSA.

Of the 746 local infections, 22 were found via tests at medical facilities and 724 via proactive tests at high-risk communities in Samut Sakhon alone.

This brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began last year to 16,221 cases while 11,287 people have recovered from the disease and 4,858 patients are being treated.

No new fatality, leaving the death toll at 76 people.

The second wave of the outbreak has led to 11,984 confirmed cases and 16 deaths between December 15 and January 28.

Apisamai said the reason why the number of new cases has been high this week is because of the increased efforts in conducting proactive tests throughout the country, especially at 4,000 factories and fresh markets in Samut Sakhon since last week.

Of the 746 local infections reported on Thursday, 733 were found in Samut Sakhon where nine were found via tests at medical facilities and 724 were found via proactive tests in the province alone.

This was followed by Bangkok (8), Samut Prakan (3), Nonthaburi (1) and Ayutthaya (1).

Clusters and provinces

The second wave of the outbreak has reached 63 out of the 77 provinces in Thailand so far.

The hardest-hit province continues to be Samut Sakhon, where the second wave began, which reported 7,919 confirmed cases between December 18 and January 28.

This was followed by Bangkok (735), Chonburi (648), Rayong (577), Samut Prakan (341), Chanthaburi (221), Nonthaburi (161) and Ang Thong (112).

Apisamai said there were 14 provinces that have reported confirmed coronavirus cases over the past four days, compared to 39, 30 and 24 provinces during the first, second and third week of 2021 respectively.

Forty-nine provinces also did not report any case in the past week between January 21 and 28.

The CCSA is meeting on Friday to decide on the relaxations of covid-prevention and restriction measures in 20 “controlled” provinces, four “highly controlled” provinces and one “highly and strictly controlled” one.

The latter consist of Samut Sakhon only while the four highly controlled provinces are Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Pathumthani.

The relaxations could include the reopening of businesses that were temporarily closed, allowing alcoholic drinks to be serve in restaurants, longer opening times and for schools to be reopened in districts that have reported few or no confirmed coronavirus cases in the past two weeks.

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