Coronavirus Cluster: Beauty Pageant Contestants Investigated

Beauty queens who participated in Miss Grand Samut Sakhon last month could face criminal charges for not wearing masks during the event, police said Sunday.

The announcement comes after health officials detected 22 infections related to the contest held at a Bangkok venue in late June.

Officials said thirteen contestants and nine other people associated with the pageant tested positive for Covid-19.

According to Mr. Kachapa Tancharoen, alias “Mod Dum,” a well-known TV host, the event’s organizer also tested positive and is in a private hospital receiving medical treatment.

Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, the deputy commissioner of the metropolitan police, told reporters that the event had violated rules and regulations for the pandemic.

Authorities granted permission and approved a request from the organizers to host the show, but they had to abide by 20 specific rules.

However, people did not wear masks as dictated by the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Besides, attendees have likely violated disease control laws and the emergency decree, the deputy commissioner said.

Photos from the beauty pageant posted on Facebook revealed that some contestants were not wearing masks and socially distancing themselves.

Police officials said more people were likely to have caught the virus.

The Huai Khwang District Office in Bangkok filed a complaint with the Makkasan Police.

Officials from the health and environment affairs department accused Miss Grand Samut Sakhon’s organizer of failing to comply with the organizational plan submitted to the district office for the event approval.

The contest organizers have not yet responded to requests for comment.

They and the province-level pageant’s participants were being investigated and could face possible criminal charges, Piya Tawichai said.

After receiving the complaint, the Makkasan Police Superintendent Pol Col Chanavorasin Suppanarak stated that authorities would investigate the case and prosecute those who have broken the law.

Thailand faces a third deadly wave of Covid-19 infections and reported 9,539 new cases and 86 deaths on Saturday.

The Thai government announced a curfew in Bangkok, its adjacent provinces, and other southern provinces due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

The strict measures go into effect today, prohibiting some businesses from opening and people from venturing out between 9:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

The beauty pageant cluster was found as Thailand also experiences a hospital bed shortage, and the government faces complaints about the slow vaccination campaign’s rollout.