BANGKOK — Staff at the Parliament on Monday were put on alert after reports say an infected gambler recently met with lawmakers to discuss gambling prevention measures.
The patient was identified as a 26-year-old man from Rayong province who visited the Parliament on Dec. 21 for a hearing on online gambling held by the House’s subcommittee. Lower House sec-gen Pornpit Petchcharoen said she has instructed 22 staffers who were in close distance with the man to get tested for COVID-19.
“We have always enforced coronavirus prevention measures,” Pornpit said. “The meeting room where the hearing was held will be closed for disinfection. All the relevant personnel, including food court staff, will undergo tests to ensure safety of all parliamentarians.”
At least 85 new coronavirus cases were discovered in Rayong as of Sunday; officials said many of them could be traced back to a gambling den in the city center.
Local media also report that the infected man is a son of the casino owner – though only a temple, the parliament, and a noodle restaurant were listed in his travel history released by health authorities.
It also emerged that the man is part of deputy house speaker Suchart Tancharoen’s working group. Suchart said he is unaware of the man’s involvement in any criminal enterprises.
“I don’t know about it,” Suchart said. “We checked his criminal records and found no abnormalities.”
Deputy chairman of the subcommittee Jakkaphon Tangsuthitham said the meeting was attended by 30 people. He said it remains unclear whether the man caught the virus before or after he visited the Parliament.
“We have to wait for official test results,” Jakkaphon, who is also an MP for Pheu Thai Party, said. “ I have asked everyone in that meeting to isolate themselves and monitor their symptoms for 14 days.”