Thailand’s Virus Deaths Rise to 4; Doctors Infected

Office workers get their temperature checked in Bangkok on March 23, 2020.

BANGKOK — Health officials on Tuesday said three additional people died from complications associated with the coronavirus infection, bringing the total death toll in the country to four.

Lab results also confirmed 106 new cases of the coronavirus, ministry spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said at a daily news conference, a slight fall in number from yesterday and Sunday. Four people remain in critical condition.

New fatalities include a 70-year-old patient who suffered from tuberculosis, a 45-year-old patient with diabetes, and a 70-year-old patient with a combination of unspecified health conditions. The latter is known to have attended a boxing match at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium prior to testing positive, Taweesin said.

Taweesin added that four physicians who work closely with the coronavirus patients tested positive for the virus.

More Cases Traced to Stadium

Taweesin said five of the new 106 cases are linked to the boxing match at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium earlier this month, while six patients are related to a social gathering at bars in Thonglor, RCA, and Nana neighborhoods. Today’s new cases brought the total confirmed tally to 827 since the outbreak began.

Twelve new patients were those who shared close contact with individuals previously diagnosed with Covid-19 infection, Taweesin said. Two individuals were also found to have the virus after returning from a religious ceremony in Malaysia.

The spokesman said another group of 32 patients, including 12 foreign nationals, were either infected from overseas or working in a crowded environment. Four of them are medical personnel working in Yala, Buriram, and Nakhon Pathom provinces.

The remaining 47 patients are being investigated for their travel histories.

According to the latest statement, there are currently 766 patients being treated for coronavirus at hospitals, while 57 have recovered as of Tuesday.

Stay Away, Stay Safe

Officials also emphasized on the importance of the “social distancing” norm, which encourages members of the public to stay home and avoid all social interactions with others unless absolutely essential.

Ministry epidemiologist Walairat Chaifoo said the total number of infections could remain in the hundreds if 80 percent of the population comply with social distancing policy. On the other hand, she said, Thailand’s cases could surge to the thousands if the measure is ignored.

Shopping malls in Bangkok were already closed down except for essential stores like food and pharmacies, while restaurants and markets across the city were instructed to ditch dine-in services in a bid to enforce social distancing.

Large gatherings and events were also cancelled, including the annual Thai New Year festivals.

Additional reporting Tappanai Boonbandit