Thai women carrying COVID-19 were fleeing Myanmar brothel outbreak

A file photo of 1G1 hotel in Myanmar’s Tachileik. Photo: 1G1-7 Hotel / Facebook
A file photo of 1G1 hotel in Myanmar’s Tachileik. Photo: 1G1-7 Hotel / Facebook

A 28-year-old man who tested positive for COVID-19 is believed to be the first case stemming from at least 10 Thai women who brought the virus with them from Myanmar after fleeing a reported outbreak at the hotel-brothel where they worked.

A resident of Tachileik, in Myanmar’s Shan state, told Coconuts an outbreak recently occurred at the 1G1 Hotel there after a group of “fat military generals from Yangon” came to have sex with its Thai hostesses.

“It’s 5,000 THB per session and some charge 10,000 THB to bring home,” Moon Saing said of the commercial sex venue.

Yangon has seen a massive outbreak that has sickened thousands and killed dozens nearly every day since August.

Public health officials said late Thursday afternoon that the Chiang Rai man became infected after coming into close contact with three of the women who had crossed into the province from Myanmar, evading state quarantine and sparking alarm of a wider outbreak.

In Chiang Rai, the infected man met Saturday afternoon with three of the women who had crossed from Tachileik. He told the authorities that he spent time with the three women at a hotel before going Sunday to a music festival called Farm Festival on the Hill at Singha Park Chiang Rai.

Several performers at the festival have been told to self-quarantine for 14 days while attendees at the event were advised by authorities to monitor their health and get COVID-19 tests as soon as possible.

The man, whose name was withheld, drove Monday with the same group to Chiang Mai and returned by bus to Chiang Rai on Tuesday and returned to work at a restaurant-pub in Chiang Rai city.

On Wednesday, when he found out that all of the women had tested positive for COVID-19, he went to get tested and found out he was ill. 

Some of the other 10 women traveled to other venues and provinces, including Bangkok. 

One flew from Chiang Rai to Bangkok, prompting Thai Lion Air to warn passengers who were aboard flight SL533 on Sunday to report to the Department of Disease Control. The flight’s cabin crew was ordered to isolate for 14 days.

The incident has prompted the authorities to impose stricter border-control measures. Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul called the woman “selfish” and said they should be prosecuted to the maximum extent.

Since Monday, false information has spread online, particularly via private Line chats, that Chiang Rai province would ban travelers from other provinces. As of today, there are no additional travel restrictions and stressed that they’re doing their best to impose strict COVID-19 containment measures.

Additional reporting Min Ye Kyaw


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