Bangkok bus driver dies of virus

Bangkok bus driver dies of virus

Passengers maintain social distance on board a Bangkok bus. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Passengers maintain social distance on board a Bangkok bus. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

A bus driver, later revealed to be a woman, has died of Covid-19, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) said on Monday, sparking criticism that the agency had concealed the information at the expense of passenger safety.

BMTA director Surachai Iamwachirasakul said on Monday the bus driver on Route 140 had died of the novel coronavirus on Sunday night at Phra Pinklao Hospital.

The driver ran a high temperature on April 3, was tested for the virus and advised to stay home. The following day, the test came back positive and she was admitted Phra Pinklao Hospital.

Route 140 runs between Samae Dam in Bang Khunthien district and Victory Monument.

The driver drove bus No. 5-90019 before falling ill, according to Mr Surachai, who advised passengers who rode that bus on April 1 to contact a doctor if they showed symptoms of the virus.

The bus is a white, Chinese-made vehicle powered by a Kinglong engine.

The Bangkok Bus Club, which monitors BMTA bus issues, posted a Facebook message saying the driver was female and working on the morning shift.

It questioned why the BMTA had withheld the information about her illness instead of immediately alerting the public after her contraction of the virus was confirmed on April 4.

Mr Surachai said the bus had been sanitised and temporarily withdrawn from service, while 18 people who were in close contact with the driver have been quarantined but have yet to show any symptoms. 

Social media users agreed with the Bangkok Bus Club's complaint that important information had been withheld from the public.

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