The Bang Khae cluster has led to cases in 11 other provinces beyond Bangkok, including the first reported cases of coronavirus in three new provinces, according to officials Monday.
“This sparking effect is when a infection is carried from a cluster in one place to another province by a travelling individual,” said Dr Apisamai Srirangsan, spokeswoman of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
The first case in Kalasin was reported Monday, a 35-year-old woman who had travelled to Bangkok on March 22 to meet a friend who works at a fresh market in Bang Khae.
Nong Bua Lam Phu and Srisaket have also reported first cases this month. Both have been traced back to the cluster that originated in the Bang Khae fresh market complex in the district west of Bangkok, where there are six markets in close proximity.
The “sparking” metaphor refers to the spread of a wildfire when an airborne spark lands far from the original blaze and starts a separate patch of fire.
The Kalasin patient flew home via VietJet Air from Suvarnabhumi Airport on March 24 before she started to show symptoms on March 25. After she was informed that her friend has tested positive for the virus, she also went to get tested and received a positive result on March 27.
In total the Bang Khae cluster has led to 481 cases in Bangkok and 56 cases in 11 other provinces as of March 26.
Apisamai urged people who travelled to areas with known clusters, or met with people who had, to remain vigilant in terms of Covid-prevention measures as the Songkran holidays is coming up and there will be more cross-provincial travelling during the period.
The CCSA also urged local authorities to continuously inspect fresh markets around the country to make sure that Covid-prevention measures such as mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing are strictly applied.
The CCSA reported 39 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.
Of those, 28 were local infections and 11 were found in quarantine facilities.
Of the 28 local infections, 16 were found via tests at medical facilities and 12 via proactive tests at known clusters.
This brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began last year to 28,773 cases. While 27,313 people have recovered from the disease, 1,366 patients are still being treated.
There was no new fatality, leaving the death toll at 94 people.
Clusters and provinces
The second wave of the outbreak has reached 67 out of the 77 provinces in Thailand so far. Of the 66 provinces, 38 have not reported any case in the past 28 days.
The hardest-hit province continues to be Samut Sakhon, where the second wave began, which reported 17,093 confirmed cases since December 15.
This was followed by Bangkok (2,148), Pathumthani (763), Chonburi (658), Rayong (584), Samut Prakan (412), Chanthaburi (221), Tak (214), Nonthaburi (198), Nakhon Pathom (171) and Ang Thong (125), respectively.
Of the 28 local infections reported on Monday, 15 were found in Bangkok, followed by 10 in Samut Sakhon, and one each in Ratchaburi, Kalasin and Maha Sarakham.