Could be the Chatuchak market in Bangkok the next pandemic Hotspot?

He is not only a market but a tourist attraction in the Thai capital, Bangkok, in: The “Chatuchak Weekend Market”. According to information from the market, with more than 200,000 visitors each weekend, the largest in the world. Here there are more than 15,000 stalls on approximately 142.000 square metres. In addition to clothing, art and Antiques are sold here, also food and live animals.

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic of such markets on which the living (Wild)animals are traded, have fallen in disrepute. After all, the so-called wet market is in the city of Wuhan, on the in addition to fish and sea animals, fruits, wild, were sold as a possible place of origin of the Virus. The WHO in January 2020, as announced before the global pandemic, have been some patients with pneumonia dealers on the Huanan Seafood market.


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On the basis of which an expert looks at the Chatuchak market the next possible epicenter of a new pandemic. “It is in every way an infectious bomb,” said Allan Randrup Thomsen, Professor of experimental Virology at the University of Copenhagen, the Danish newspaper Politiken. The same assessment would also have several other Doctors that “policies” is spoken. What these are, don’t call the newspaper, however.

Thomsen does not think of it as a question of if but when it will come to an outbreak at the Chatuchak market. According to his estimates, this could be a lot worse than in Wuhan, because the Chatuchak market is usually one of the most popular tourist attractions of Bangkok, as “policies”. “This means that a local outbreak is very quickly becoming a global outbreak, because many people could bring back a Virus to their home countries.” Annually in Bangkok by millions of tourists.

Chatuchak market in Bangkok, a “Wuhan in the making”

Already in mid-March, the Bangkok Post,” the Chatuchak market is called “a “Wuhan in the making” – a next-Wuhan. Because the market was not only a hotbed for the potential Transmission of viruses, but also a hub for illegal shops that sell wild animals from around the world, many of which are protected. Even if this would not be wild and slaughtered animals on site, it is in the cage position on the market, a potential source for the Transmission of viruses, the “Bangkok Post” on.

As the “policies” reported, the matches of the “Chatuchak Weekend Market”, according to the Wildlife Justice Commission, a prominent role in the global illegal trade in wild animals. In one area of the market in wild animals from around the world were sold, which were stacked in boxes and cages on top of each other and side by side. Due to this proximity, a Transfer of disease pathogens easier, the newspaper said.

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Despite the closure of a: the market sold more animals

The market was on 22. March on the orders of the city closed, along with other markets in Bangkok. At the beginning of may to the Chatuchak market opened after 48 days, subject to conditions. So opening Hours have been changed, some of the stalls remained closed, like the “Bangkok Post” reported. People have to wear face masks and there is a fever control points, as well as a disinfectant and wash basin. There is also upper limits for the customers in the shops.

A Reporter for the British TV station Channel 4 had visited the market in April of this year with hidden cameras – although this was officially been actually closed. The pictures show, among other things, poultry and meerkats locked in cages, turtles and other wild animals from different Parts of the earth.

An official of the city of Bangkok, told Channel 4 that more stringent laws were just before the Coronavirus pandemic has been adopted. If the trade in wild animals would be forbidden, whether it is control easier to use, said Maj Gen Wiwat Chaisangkha the transmitter. But: “demand and supply are the Problem.” It was difficult to enforce the law.

Animal markets are “sleeping time bombs”

The combination of live, wild animals, poorly regulated animal husbandry and unsanitary slaughter was “a perfect storm for a virus to arise,” said Kevin Olival, an evolutionary biologist from the NGO EcoHealth Alliance, the magazine “Time” in March of this year. The Chatuchak market was not according to the magazine, however, the only place where such circumstances prevailed. In the whole of Asia, lax regulations and poor enforcement could be exploited easily.

According to Steven Galster, the founder of the Bangkok-based NGO, Freeland, would chains the same delivery, the Wuhan would be supplied to other markets in the Region to provide what you do to be “sleeping time bombs”. “You are hot, crowded, and just perfect for another disaster”, quoted by “Time” Galster. “And we know that it will happen eventually.”

Sources: “politics”, “Bangkok Post”, Channel 4, WHO, “Chatuchak Weekend Market”, “Time”

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