Bhumjaithai MPs tested as Saksayam gets Covid

Bhumjaithai MPs tested as Saksayam gets Covid

Saksayam: Didn't wear face mask
Saksayam: Didn't wear face mask

Sixty-one Bhumjaithai Party MPs have taken Covid-19 tests and gone into self-quarantine after Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, secretary-general of the party, contracted the virus.

The MPs were yesterday tested for the virus at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, as were members of the media who attended an anniversary party at Bhumjaithai's head office on Tuesday.

Six Democrat MPs who also attended the event, including Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sree-on, also went to the institute for Covid-19 tests.

Thirteen ministers who had been in contact with Mr Saksayam were yesterday absent from the weekly cabinet meeting, during which Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said all ministers must take good care of themselves and that he did not want any more of them to be infected.

The abbot of Wat Bowon Niwet, His Serene Somdet Phra Wanarat, and eight monks from the temple who were invited to perform rituals at the event were also in quarantine.

Mr Saksayam said he started his 14-day quarantine on Tuesday after coming into contact with an infected person. He had a high fever of 38 degrees yesterday morning and decided to go to Buriram Hospital, where tests on Tuesday and yesterday confirmed he had the virus, so he was hospitalised for treatment.

"I admit that I did not wear a face mask when I was with my team especially during lunchtime,'' Mr Saksayam said.

An initial disease investigation showed that a member of Mr Saksayam's team at the Transport Ministry had been in close contact with an infected person and spread the virus to the minister.

Mr Saksayam, who has not yet had his second Covid-19 vaccine jab, dismissed rumours that he was the minister who reportedly went to an entertainment venue in Thong Lor.

Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, was asked how the minister could have been infected despite being vaccinated. The doctor explained that the vaccine could not prevent all Covid-19 infections.

Meanwhile, deputy police spokesperson Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen said 189 police officers at Thong Lor police station had received Covid-19 tests, following a cluster of local infections.

Nine officers tested positive and all were admitted to the Police General Hospital for treatment, while 22 other officers who had been in contact with the infected ones have also been quarantined.

The station was disinfected on Tuesday and has now reopened to the public.

A source said a female officer at the Metropolitan Police Bureau headquarters also tested positive yesterday.

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