Thailand reports first local COVID-19 case in over a month

BANGKOK (CNA) – Thailand has recorded its first two locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus in more than one month, the COVID-19 administration centre said yesterday.

It said in its daily report that the cases were among two Myanmar nationals living near the border with Myanmar, where infections have been surging recently.

The two were tested on October 13. They showed no symptoms but results were positive, the centre said in the statement. The last known local case was in early September.

Thailand said last week it would push back plans to receive its first batch of foreign tourists due to administrative issues, a senior official said, adding to uncertainty about when it will welcome back visitors vital to its economy.

Processes involved in applying for and issuing special visas is delaying the soft re-opening, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn said, adding that about 100 tourists were expected to arrive this month.

Foreign arrivals stopped in April after the government banned commercial flights to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Thailand has just over 3,600 confirmed cases, among the lowest in Asia, but its economy could contract by a record 7.8 per cent.

The tourism-reliant country could see just 6.7 million foreign visitors this year, the government predicts, after a record 39.8 million in 2019, whose spending made up about 11.4 per cent of its GDP (gross domestic product), or USD61.78 billion.