Government to test 10,000 in bid to contain Pathumthani cluster

Health officials in Pathumthani aim to test 10,000 people to prevent any further spread of the coronavirus from the Pornpat Market, a government official said on Friday.     

Apisamai Srirangsan, the spokeswoman of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said 7,417 people living and working at high-risk markets, factories and communities near the Pornpat Market in Thanyaburi district of Pathaumthani have been tested since 9 February.

“The local officials said they want to reached at least 10,000 individuals before the intensification of the active case finding efforts can be ease,” she said.

The Pornpat Market cluster, which started when a vendor tested positive on 6 February, had led to more than 450 confirmed cases in 10 provinces as of 19 February.

The market and the adjacent Suchart Market, where most of the cases were found, have been closed until 25 February.

Apisamai said markets are more susceptible to infection because of the low air flow and the large number of people travelling between them every day.

She said the Ministry of Public Health is working on new guidelines and protocols to improve airflow and cleanliness at fresh markets around the country.

She also urged market vendors, workers and customers to wear face masks, wash their hands frequently and avoid large crowds.

Daily numbers

The CCSA said they have found 130 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. 

Of those, 116 were local infections and 14 were found in quarantine facilities.

Of the 116 local infections, 61 were found via tests at medical facilities and 55 via proactive tests at high-risk communities, mostly in Samut Sakhon and Pathumthani.

This brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began last year to 25,241 cases. While 24,070 people have recovered from the disease, 1,088 patients are still being treated.

There was one new fatality, bringing the death toll up to 83.

The deceased was Dr Panya Hanphanitphan, 66, who was treating three infected patients at his clinic in Mahasarakham when he contracted the virus. He was the first Thai physician to die from the coronavirus.

Thirty-six medical workers have contracted the virus since the second wave began, six of them while on duty.   

The second wave of the outbreak has led to 21,004 confirmed cases and 23 deaths since December 15. Of the total confirmed cases during the second wave, 79 per cent were found in Samut Sakhon alone.

Clusters and provinces

The second wave of the outbreak has reached 63 out of the 77 provinces in Thailand so far. Of the 63, there are now 43 provinces that have not report any new case in the past week. 

The hardest-hit province continues to be Samut Sakhon, where the second wave began, which reported 15,825 confirmed cases since 15 December.

This was followed by Bangkok (941), Chonburi (652), Rayong (584), Pathumthani (459), Samut Prakan (364), Chanthaburi (221), Nonthaburi (173), Tak (138), Ang Thong (114) and Nakhon Pathom (101), respectively.

Of the 116 local infections reported on Friday, 71 were found in Samut Sakhon followed by 22 in Pathumthani, 10 in Nakhon Pathom, seven in Bangkok, four in Ayutthaya and two in Nonthaburi.

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