Thailand’s transport minister became the highest-ranking government official to contract COVID-19, lab results confirmed this morning.
Saksayam Chidchob, 58, who is being treated at a hospital in his home province of Buriram, said he had not been out in the Bangkok nightlife scene where the virus has been rushing back, with hundreds of new cases found in recent days.
While it is not clear where or when he was infected, the minister said he believes he got it from one of his staffers who had earlier tested positive for the disease.
He denied visiting entertainment venues in Bangkok’s Thonglor or Ekkamai areas after at least 45 recent COVID-19 cases linked to the places.
Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said he would quarantine for 14 days after being in close contact with Saksayam on Tuesday at a religious event.
Saksayam was among at least five cabinet members including Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam to announce they would self-quarantine for 14 days.
After a second outbreak faded in February, a surge of cases were detected in the capital over the weekend.
Health officials today announced new 334 COVID-19 infections, 216 of which were found in Bangkok.
No broad vaccination campaign is expected to begin for at least two more months.