An affluent outbreak sees Thailand’s high society quarantined; Songkran could see virus spread

On Tuesday, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health announced that 250 people tested positive for Covid-19 sparking fears that a Bangkok-based outbreak cluster could mean a third-wave of coronavirus infections.

The cluster, which started in fresh markets in the city, has made its way through Bangkok and has seen infections among high ranking police officers and foreign dignitaries.

Among those infected includes the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand who, according to sources inside the diplomatic circles, had close contact with several high society Thais which has resulted in a mass hysteria among the Thai upper crust and fears that there could be an outbreak among the affluent.

The resulting fallout has resulted in the closure of several restaurants, international schools and the quarantining of participants at a glamorous wedding at the Capella Bangkok hotel over the past weekend. Several cabinet ministers, CEOs of Thailand’s richest companies, and several parliamentarians were in attendance at the wedding.

The timing of the latest outbreak cluster also has doctors at Siriraj Hospital and in the Ministry of Public Health worried that the outbreak could spread during the Songkran holidays next week.

“This is a perfect storm in terms of timing, outbreak numbers, and potential for mass movement that could result in a new nationwide outbreak,” said a senior doctor at Siriraj Hospital who asked not to be named.

“What we don’t know right now is the size and scope of the current outbreak. Whether it is limited to a few in a social class or whether it could be really widespread, if it is then Songkran is going to be a potential mass spreader,” he said.

The government has said so far that it does not plan on introducing restrictions to next week’s holiday which it had hoped would increase local consumption and demand.

The Ministry of Public Health under Anuthin Charnvirakul said that it was confident that it could control the latest outbreak even as the Bhumjai Thai Party which he leads goes into partial lockdown as a precaution due to possible exposure.

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