Thailand Cockfights, Gambling Dens Promote COVID Spread, Health Experts Warn
Posted on: January 12, 2021, 07:23h.
Last updated on: January 13, 2021, 10:08h.
Gamblers assembled at Thailand’s cockfights and illegal gaming dens are leading to higher risk for coronavirus transmission, cautions a US public health expert.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, told Casino.org that “spectating any cockfight likely involves individuals being in close proximity to each other, shouting, and screaming.
This gives the virus an easier time getting from one person to another. This is compounded if the event is indoors,” Adalja advised.
Adalja’s research focuses on infectious diseases, pandemic preparedness, and biosecurity. He has been a member of US government panels which presented guidelines for mass casualties and infectious diseases.
He was also an advisor to the New York City Health and Hospital Emergency Management Highly Infectious Disease training program.
“Private gambling events may also provide an opportunity for the virus to spread amongst participants,” Adalja explained. “Often, there may be poor levels of face covering use, a lack of social distancing, alcohol use, which causes people to lower their guard, smoking, which creates more exhalation, and an indoor setting.”
Hundreds of coronavirus cases were traced recently to exposure at Thai cockfighting sites and illegal casinos, Bloomberg News reported.
These places don’t have good air circulation and are full of people without their masks on. They must be avoided,” said Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of Thailand’s Department of Disease Control, to Bloomberg.
“No matter if these places are legal or illegal, we must avoid them. Otherwise, we risk bringing the virus to the family, the community.”
More than 76 COVID-19 cases were associated with cockfighting in Ang Thong province, the report said. More than 200 people with positive cases spent time in gambling dens in Rayong province, the Thai Health Ministry was quoted by Bloomberg.
Cockfighting is permitted in Thailand. Gambling basically is illegal.
Myanmar’s Sky Complex Casino Workers at Risk
In addition, many Thais who work for Myanmar’s Sky Complex casino were infected or at risk, the Thai government said. They are heading back into the country, possibly carrying the virus, the report said.
The Thai government currently is trying to curb the largest spike in COVID-19 infections since the pandemic kicked off, Bloomberg reported.
Last week, it was reported that coronavirus cases more than doubled in less than a month in Thailand, Bloomberg said. Infections are diagnosed in more than 70 percent of the provinces, the report adds.
Bars, gyms, pubs, and spas were shuttered temporarily in high-risk locations, Bloomberg said.
Government Launches Inquiry Into Illegal Gaming
Also, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha recently announced an inquiry into illegal gambling dens. There could be “stricter punishments” for illegal gaming, the report said.
Recently, authorities also launched an investigation on two illegal gambling dens in Chanthaburi province to determine whether they were spreading coronavirus, the Bangkok Post, a local newspaper in Thailand, reported.
Across the world, Nevada’s gaming floors, bars, and restaurants were ordered this week to keep in place the 25 percent occupancy limit for another 30 days because of coronavirus risk, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced on Monday. But the move led experts to question its effectiveness and the impact on the economy.
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