Nightlife the new hotspot for infections

7 Jul 2022

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Covid-19 Thailand continues to see a rise in cases, with 967 new infections reported yesterday, up to 26 at the beginning of the month. Officials from the Health department are certain where the rise is coming from, pointing the finger at nightlife venues. A rise in infections in Hua Hin appears to back up the theory that first floated after a cluster of infections was linked to Bangkok nightlife.

The Bangkok Post reports, 193 cases have been recorded in the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan since the start of the month. Officials believe they can be traced back to a single "super-spreader" who is responsible for 142 of them in Hua Hin. On March 30, a 26-year-old woman working at Bangkok's Krystal Club traveled to Hua Hin with her boyfriend. At the time of her journey, she was showing no sign of infection.

She went to the Maya Exclusive Pub with seven friends and family members on her first night in Hua Hin. She developed a high fever the next day and the following the next day, April 1, that her colleagues at the Krystal Club had tested positive for Covid-19. On April 3, the woman went to a Hua Hin hospital to be tested and was confirmed to be infected.

She was admitted to Hua Hin Hospital on April 4, but the virus had already spread in Hua Hin. The woman's boyfriend, and also 140 people in Hua Hin and 52 in other districts, tested positive. The infections can be traced back to the woman's March 30 to the Maya pub, according to the Public Health Ministry.

This example is used by officials to illustrate the role of pubs and entertainment venues in this third wave of the virus. They say that at least 137 nightclubs in at least 15 provinces are behind new surges of infection. The development is all the more concerning, according to leading virologist Yong Poovorwan of Chulalongkorn University, because the original cluster linked to Bangkok nightlife is the B117 variant, which is far more contagious.

Meanwhile, the Department of Disease Control's Opas Karnkawinpong accuses partygoers of not cooperating with contact-tracing officials, making it difficult to control the spread of infection.