BANGKOK — A public bus driver serving the capital has died of the coronavirus, the city transportation authority announced on Monday, confirming an earlier rumor of an infection within the agency.
Surachai Eamvachirasakul, director of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), said the bus driver served route No. 140 running from Samae Dam in Bang Khun Thian district to Victory Monument. Surachai did not identify the driver by name, but said she died last night, 9 days after she was admitted to a hospital.
He said 18 BMTA employees who shared close contact with the driver were immediately withdrawn from the service after the test result came out on April 4. He also asked passengers who rode the bus route to be aware of their symptoms and seek medical attention should they develop a fever.
The bus was pulled out from the fleet and disinfected, Surachai said.
The announcement came after a Facebook page posted on Sunday that the BMTA remained silent on the matter for a week after one of its employees was found to be infected with the virus.
“It’s been a week already, but the ‘official’ is still sweeping it under the carpet,” Facebook page Bangkokbusclub.com wrote, using the term “official” to refer to the BMTA.
However, transport minister Saksayam Chidchob said he has ordered an investigation into the case to see whether the patient was deliberately hiding her conditions from transport officials.
“I have ordered BMTA director Surachai to establish an inquiry committee into the matter,” Saksayam said. “If the patient did not officially notify her symptoms, it would be considered as an intentional concealment of information.”
The bus driver’s death was not reported during today’s daily news briefing at the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration. As of Monday, 40 people have died of the coronavirus, while the total number of cases now stands at 2,579.