Actor and singer Matthew Deane Chanthavanij says he has been diagnosed with Covid-19, a revelation that has touched off a flurry of cleaning and disinfection at the headquarters of Channel 3 television in Bangkok.
“This is NOT a joke, for those that have been in close contact with me the last few days please take precautions. I have the Covid-19 virus,” the 41-year-old celebrity said in a post on his Instagram account on Friday.
The post, which included a scan of lab results from Ramathibodi Hospital, had received 745,923 views as of Friday evening.
He also said his Khlongsittha Muay Thai boxing gym would be closed on Friday for deep cleaning and disinfection, in order to protect customers from being infected by the coronavirus..
Channel 3, meanwhile, closed an entire floor of Maleenont Tower where Matthew had been working and asked staff who had been contact with him in recent days to work at home for 14 days.
In message on its Facebook page, the station said the floor where the actor worked would be closed for two weeks and would be sprayed with disinfectant. A restaurant where he ate would also be closed.
The entire office, walking paths, bathrooms and elevators at the building would be sprayed with disinfectant over the next few days to prevent a possible spread of the coronavirus, it added.
The responses to the actor’s revelation have been largely favourable, with commenters on Instagram praising him for going public so that others could take appropriate action.
However, Dr Thawee Chotpithayasunon, an adviser to the Department of Disease Control, was not impressed.
He questioned why Matthew was not wearing a hospital gown when he made his Instagram post. If he was infected, he should be in a hospital and should not be in contact with others, said Dr Thawee.
Coronavirus infections must be confirmed by results from two laboratories, he added. Lab tests are not conducted on only one person but on samples from 40-50 patients at a time before the results were announced.
If the actor posted the video from his home, said Dr Thawee, any hospital that treated him must be at fault for letting him leave.
Dr Opart Karnkawinwong, director-general of the Department of Medical Services, said the actor had the right to post any messages he chose to, as long as they were truthful. If a message was false, he could face action under the Computer Crimes Act for causing people to panic.
“The situation is now rather sensitive,” said Dr Opart. “Anyone wanting to post any message should think carefully as the posting may cause panic among and create negative consequences for society.”
(Photo taken from matthew.deane1 instagram)