COVID-19 Concerns Rise As Clusters Emerge in Bangkok’s Commercial Areas

Bangkok authorities warn residents to stay on guard against the possible spread of COVID-19 in the capital’s commercial areas from emerging clusters in neighboring communities.

Apisamai Srirangson, a spokeswoman for the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said that concerns about some of the capital’s COVID-19 clusters have increased.

Bangkok has registered 52 clusters, and some have sprung up near shopping centers that receive thousands of people every day. One of them was the outbreak in the Saphan Hua Chang community on Phetchaburi Soi 18 in the Ratchathewi district.

Health officials carried out massive tests in the nearby Siam Square shopping area on May 29 and found that 54 of 734 people were infected.

The transmissions’ number represents a positive rate of 7.35%, considered relatively high, said Dr. Apisamai. On the other hand, the unregistered community of Saphan Hua Chang has many commercial buildings that have been renovated into rental rooms mainly occupied by migrant workers.

“As a result, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is conducting surveillance measures at shopping centers in the Ratchaprasong and Pratunam areas,” Dr. Apisamai explained.

Bang Kapi district is also a matter of concern for authorities. The busy commercial and residential area contains the Kheha Klongchan community, a Makro store, Bang Kapi Market, The Mall Bangkapi shopping center, and Nakhon Thai Fresh Market.

Previously, the CCSA was criticized for not specifying the location of a cluster after informing the public that they had found one linked to a commercial area in the Lat Phrao area.

Shortly after, it issued a statement clarifying the doubts, but public concerns persisted. Moreover, Ratchathewi and Bang Kapi remain among the 24 Bangkok districts under maximum surveillance for coronavirus transmission.

The Saphan Hua Chang community is one of the four clusters found in Ratchathewi and four other clusters have been detected in Bang Kapi.

Authorities said Bangkok logged 824 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, representing the highest number among all provinces in the total national of 2,631 infections. According to Dr. Apisamai, the 52 active clusters in Bangkok included two new clusters found on the last day.

Those were the Hua Pa community in Suan Luang district and a workers’ camp in the compound of the Police Education Bureau in Chatuchak.