New Virus Cluster Found in Pathum Thani Fresh Market

Health workers conduct coronavirus tests at Pornpat fresh market in Pathum Thani province on Feb. 15, 2021.

PATHUM THANI — Health officials on Wednesday said they are conducting an aggressive testing operation in Pathum Thani, where a new cluster of coronavirus infection was reported in recent days.

The government’s pandemic center said people who visited the Pornpat Market in the province are being reached out for a test. As of Wednesday, at least 134 cases were already reported in connection with the 140-stall fresh market.

The pandemic response center said more than 8,000 people were already tested.

The government also found a total of 175 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday. Of these, 114 were detected in active case-finding operations, including 74 cases in Pathum Thani, 39 in Samut Sakhon, and one in Bangkok.


The Pathum Thani provincial administration has closed Pornpat Market until Feb. 25, while buildings nearby are being used as quarantine facilities.

COVID-19 tests taken of vendors and visitors to the market on Feb. 14 and Feb. 16 show the infections spreading out from the market’s center.

Earlier this week, Thailand also logged its first infection of the South African variant of the coronavirus in a 41-year-old Thai gems businessman who visited Tanzania for two months, before returning through Ethiopia on Jan. 29.

The infection was found on Feb. 3, while the man was in a state-run quarantine, said Opas Karnkawinpong, director of the Department of Disease Control.


In a move that could herald more reopening in the tourism sector, pandemic center spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin announced that a group of around 70 “international socialites” will land in Phuket as part of a travel bubble.

The group will undergo a luxury “villa quarantine” at Sri Panwa Resort, he said. The cost wasn’t mentioned.

“We designed a villa quarantine system,” Taweesin said. “This system will give us worldwide trust for tourism in this new era.”