Pub owner faces charges as cases soar

Pub owner faces charges as cases soar

Infections in Hua Hin near 200

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: Local authorities on Monday filed a complaint with the police against a pub owner whose venue is blamed for the latest spike in Covid-19 cases in Hua Hin district.

Hua Hin deputy district chief Montri Manichpong and assistant public health officer Janewit Plisak filed a complaint with Hua Hin police, urging them to take action against the owner of Maya Exclusive Pub for violating the Communicable Disease Act, the Entertainment Venue Act and the emergency decree.

The pub held held a show on March 30, which has been linked to a string of new Covid-19 diagnosis in Hua Hin. More than 90% of the cases found in the area were linked to the venue, authorities said.

Prachuap Khiri Khan has recorded 193 new infections since the start of the month -- 142 of which were detected in Hua Hin.

Hua Hin police chief, Phaitoon Promkhian, said police plan to start by questioning the pub's patrons, but since many are currently hospitalised with Covid-19, the interrogations will have to wait until they are given a clean bill of health by doctors.

"We will investigate the matter further before filing charges against the pub owner and/or manager," Pol Col Phaitoon said.

According to media reports, a driver of Prachuap Khiri Khan's deputy governor tested positive after visiting the pub.

Several sources claimed officials from other government agencies also tested positive after visiting nightspots in Hua Hin.

The virus spread as they visited other entertainment venues in Muang and Bang Saphan district before testing positive for Covid-19.

The sources also said a senior local official is currently in quarantine after visiting Maya Exclusive Pub on March 30.

The official, the sources said, may be prosecuted for dereliction of duty under Section 157 of the Criminal Code for visiting the pub.

The outbreak in Prachuap Khiri Khan is believed to have started with one individual.

The 26-year-old woman, who told health officials that she worked as a public relations officer at Krystal Club, left Bangkok with her boyfriend to visit to her mother in the resort city on March 30.

As she was asymptomatic, she did not realise she was carrying the coronavirus with her, authorities said.

The night of her arrival in Hua Hin, she and seven friends and relatives went to Maya Exclusive Pub. The following day, March 31, she developed a high fever.

After she was told on April 1 that her colleagues at the high-end nightclub in Thong Lor had tested positive, the PR office went to a private hospital in Hua Hin to be tested.

On April 3, her test result came back positive for Covid-19.

The following day, the woman was admitted to Hua Hin Hospital, but by that time, the virus had already spread far and wide, authorities said.

According to health authorities, a total of 141 people, including her boyfriend, were infected in Hua Hin.

Fifty-two cases were found south of Hua Hin: in Pran Buri, Sam Roi Yot, Kui Buri, Muang Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thap Sakae and Bang Saphan districts.

On Monday, officials at the Public Health Ministry presented a chart that breaks down the woman's movements since her visit to Maya Exclusive Pub on March 30. Due to the high number of infections linked to the pub, the gathering was dubbed a super-spreader event.

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