Thailand will launch another round of mass coronavirus testing after thousands of maskless youths packed together for two concerts in the South for which organizers now face criminal charges.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha ordered testing of those attending the July 24 and 25 Krabi and Nakhon Si Thammarat concerts by teen idol Ratchanok “Jennie” Suwannaket after event photos went viral with thousands denouncing the flouting of social-distancing rules.
There’s no evidence anyone attending the concerts was infected with the coronavirus as Thailand on Thursday marked 66 consecutive days without a locally transmitted Covid-19 infection.
Nonetheless, Thamarak Palipat, deputy director-general of the Disease Control Department, said just one Covid-19-infected person attended, 10-20 people within two meters for even five minutes could have been infected as well.
Thamarak likened the event to the infamous coronavirus “superspreader” event in March at a Bangkok boxing stadium and that village health volunteers and disease investigators will try to track down everyone who attended the two concerts and perform testing on a level similar to what was done in Rayong after a Covid-19-infected Egyptian airman visited shopping malls during a stopover in the province earlier this month.
Police, meanwhile, are planning to charge concert organizers with violating the emergency decree’s prohibition of mass gatherings.
Nakhon Si Thammarat Gov. Siripat Patkul said the show there had been approved by the provincial communicable-diseases committee under guidelines imposed by the CCSA. He claimed public health volunteers, district health officials and defense volunteers were deployed at the concert to screen people and to ensure that the venue was not congested.
As seen in photos, they did a terrible job of that, as crowds packed together with large numbers not wearing masks. He said public officials blundered by allowing free entry to the venue as the concert was ending and no one checked to see that people kept masks on after entering.