More than 10,000 people will be tested for COVID-19 in Thailand after a surge in the epidemic linked to the country’s largest seafood market near Bangkok, authorities said on Sunday.
A total of 689 new cases of contamination linked to the port and shellfish market of Mahachai, less than an hour’s drive from the center of the capital city of Bangkok, have been detected since a 67-year-old shrimp seller was discovered. declared positive Thursday, according to a report established Sunday by the authorities.
Most of those infected are Burmese who came to work in Thailand in the booming seafood industry.
Authorities have ordered Burmese workers to remain confined to their accommodation around the market.
“We are confining them and forbidding them to move,” the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, Kietphgum Wongit, said on Sunday, stressing that these workers would be supplied with water and food by the authorities.
The disease control department “will be actively tracing in several communities of around 10,300 people,” said Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesperson for the outbreak control organization.
The tests, which will be free for migrant workers, will continue until Wednesday, he said.
As of Saturday, the authorities had imposed strict containment and a curfew around the market until January.
Even though the kingdom was the first country to spot a case of infection outside of China earlier this year, it was relatively untouched by the pandemic with just over 4,000 cases and 60 deaths reported before this recovery. .
Thailand shares porous borders with four countries, including Burma, where more than 1,000 new cases of contamination are recorded per day.
Images shared on social media showed masked workers huddled together in a queue to be tested.
“Social distancing is impossible here,” says Kyaw Zay Yar, a Burmese worker who helps a local foundation coordinate the testing campaign.
According to him, hostile feelings towards migrant workers, accused of importing COIVID-19 into the country, are spreading on social networks.
The associations claim that Mahachai’s seafood industry relies on a labor force made up of poorly paid migrants, working and living crowded together in difficult conditions.