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Foreign media still playing up false ‘infection by dead body’ report

FOREIGN media have not let up on a false hair-raising account that a Thai had been infected by the dead body of a coronavirus patient even through the Public Health Ministry has confirmed that this is not true, Voice TV reported today (18.4.2020).

ABC News website became the latest major media outlet to write about a letter to Editor of the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine that a Thai forensic official had died after handling the body of a coronavirus victim under the headline, “Coronavirus’ reach from beyond the grave: Deceased body transmits Covid-19.”

Among the other foreign publications that ran similar reports earlier are Business Insider, Newsweek, BuzzFeed and National Post.

Their report is based on a letter written by Won Sriwijitalai, who is attached to RVT Medical Centre in Bangkok, and Viroj Wiwanitkit, who has researched and worked for University of Patil in India and Hainan Medical University in China.

Their assessment is that a forensic official died after conducting an autopsy of a Covid-19 patient on March 20, when the total number of cases here was  272.

However a representative of the Public Health Ministry had already explained that “the above information is not true.”

Khoa Sod newspaper quoted ministry specialist Dr Anupong Suchariyakul as saying that although the bodies of the deceased initially do have secretions, assessment should be based on facts.

He had added that the dead bodies of these patients are packed three-layer zip-lock bags and the handlers do wear protective clothing and for this reason no public health personnel had died from handling the bodies.

Bangkok Post quoted Dr Somsak Akhasilp, the Department of Medical  Services director-general, as saying on March 24 that the virus dies when its host dies and there is no chance of it being transmitted to another person. He was referring to the 70-year-old man who died previously at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute after a 50-day battle with the virus. News about his death was posted on Facebook by his son.

The elderly man worked as the driver of a tour bus for Chinese tourists, the post read, in which the son also wrote that many temples had refused to perform funeral services for his father out of fear that the disease could still be communicable.


Coronavirus twist: Spoof, satire, Mona Lisa. Photo: Folsom

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TNR staff
I am veteran journalist and part of ThaiNewsroom.com’s editorial team. We are working hard at making this news site a success and value the support of each and every reader

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