Lumpinee Stadium is widely believed to have been the epicentre of Thailand’s biggest cluster of coronavirus, or Covid-19, cases to date. It recently emerged that the March 6th show went ahead despite an order going out three days prior that all sporting events should be cancelled.
Among the people inn attendance that night who contracted Covid-19 are celebrities, politicians and high ranking military officers as well as referees, fighters and gamblers. As of March 23rd the number of infections linked to the stadium had passed the 130 mark.
The stadium is owned and operated by the Thai army which recently announced it would launch an investigation. Rajadamnern Stadium also continued to host events after the cancellation order.
Chaylar Por Lakboon was victorious on March 6th, scoring a decision victory over Petchsamarn Sor Samarngarment. The former subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 while the latter did not.
Chaylar’s manager said his fighter had no symptoms and would not have gotten tested if they hadn’t known about the Lumpinee cluster,
“He doesn’t have any symptoms, no fever, cough or cold and he is feeling strong. Everyone who had close contact with him has been tested and found negative and are taking responsibility by isolating and checking for any symptoms.”
The cluster might not have been detected so soon had it not been for TV announcer Matthew Dean. Having tested positive for Covid-19 he immediately shared the diagnosis with his large online following which encouraged other people who had been at Lumpinee on March 6th to get checked.
Dean passed the infection onto his wife, who is also a celebrity in Thailand. Both are on the road to recovery and he wanted to thank the medical personnel who had helped them,
“I want to thank everyone for the support for me and Lydia. Right now the doctors and nurses are working really hard, to help everyone that is suffering with Covid-19. They are unable to go home and will most likely have to eat and sleep at work for several more weeks.”
He also hopes to set an example to other people in Thailand and help reduce the spread of the virus,
“I want everyone to help them, by staying at home and avoiding places with lots of people. Everyone that loves their country and their friends and family join together, as everyone has an important role to play and if we don’t join together and help it could take longer to finish.”
There were people in attendance at Lumpinee on March 6th who have tested positive weeks later despite displaying no symptoms. Many of the are members of the gambling community who flock to stadiums in their thousands to place bets on the outcome of the fights.
One of them, Yut Surat, took to social media to describe his experience of the virus.
“I first started feeling a little warm, like I had a mild fever and a slight feeling of tightness in my chest and went to the doctors on the 13th of March to get checked. I found out the following day I had contracted the virus. Around the 16th I still felt hot and had some tightness in my chest and a little difficulty breathing. For the next couple of days I was sick and had difficulty eating, due to the medicine I was taking and possibly because I was a little stressed. By the 19th I felt a lot better, I didn’t feel hot anymore and the tightness in my chest had gone. Now I feel really good.”
Ten days later he was told he had made a recovery,
“I am in good shape now, an x-ray of my lungs shows they are normal. The doctor said I can go home now, but for the sake of everyone else in society I will self isolate for another 14 days.”