Tourists flee as fire rips through Covid-19 quarantine hotel in Thailand


Dozens of tourists who just arrived in Thailand fled for their lives as a fire ripped through a Covid-19 quarantine hotel.

The foreigners were in their rooms when the blaze broke out in an unused snooker club section of the Siam Mandarina Hotel in Samut Prakan on the outskirts of Bangkok on October 6 evening.

Ruamkatanyu rescue foundation volunteers arrived in hazmat suits and lead the 80 hotel guests – 50 foreigners and 30 Thai nationals – to safety in an area outside the hotel.

Ten fire trucks brought the inferno under control in 30 minutes and there were no injuries.

The hotel chef who alerted authorities said: ‘I saw a cloud of smoke spread throughout the area, but I couldn’t see where the fire was coming from. I searched for a long time but I couldn’t find it so I ran and called for help.’

A short circuit is believed to have caused the incident, as the snooker club hasn’t been used since pandemic restrictions were enforced. Authorities said they will conduct a more thorough investigation into the source of the fire.

Thailand has recorded 1,678,297 Covid-19 cases and 17,418 deaths – with cases rising dramatically before dipping at the end of September.

Ministers are now pushing ahead with ‘sandbox’ quarantine plans for popular parts of the country that tourists can visit and boost the country’s struggling economy.

Economists have warned that it could be another five years before the country’s tourism industry returns to pre-pandemic levels. 

Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen. 

Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.