Gem traders at heart of new cluster

Gem traders at heart of new cluster

109 traders from Africa test positive

More than 100 gemstone traders from Africa have come down with Covid-19 over four days in Chanthaburi, although none carried the African or Indian variants of the virus.

The provincial public office said the 109 traders tested positive May 6-9. They are from Guinea, Mali, Cote D'Ivoire and Gambia. Chanthaburi has attracted many traders of precious stones from Africa.

Medical workers from hospitals and the provincial health office also set up a testing site at a Buddhist centre targeting 250 residents who came into contact with the African traders.

Police warned the traders must comply strictly with health measures and go into quarantine for at least 14 days.

Head of the African trader group, Cewse, police some traders were infected possibly by the gemstone sellers.

After that the traders may have passed the disease among themselves during a mass prayer in the holy month of Ramadan.

Two new clusters of Covid-19 infections have emerged in Chiang Mai where the virus was transmitted from family to friends, public health officials said.

The clusters were detected in Doi Saket and Mae Wang districts as local authorities were ramping up their testing campaign to limit the spread of the disease.

Songyot Khamchai, head of the communicable disease control unit at the Chiang Mai public health office, said 26 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Chiang Mai on Saturday. They were attributed to the emergence of the Doi Saket and Mae Wang clusters.

The number of daily new cases has been below 50 for six straight days in Chiang Mai which has clocked up 3,869 infections since the third outbreak at the start of last month. Of them, 3,067 people have been cured and there have been nine fatalities. Most Covid-19 sufferers are asymptomatic or exhibit minor conditions. Twenty are severely ill.

Mr Songyot said 133 food delivery riders in downtown Chiang Mai were tested. None were found to be infected with Covid-19. The Doi Saket cluster broke out after an infected delivery worker returned home from Bangkok and failed to register with the health watch app on his arrival. Officials were unable to track him.

In the Mae Wang cluster, eight people contracted the virus. Parents became infected after visiting an entertainment venue in early April.

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