Thailand confirms 745 new coronavirus cases

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand has registered 745 new coronavirus cases, with a new death reported in Bangkok, where a semi-lockdown went into effect.

The Centre of COVID-19 Situation Administration said yesterday that the new infections bring the total number since last January to 8,439, while the death toll has climbed to 65.

The agency said the number included 152 Thais and 577 migrant workers in Samut Sakhon, the province next to Bangkok that is the epicentre of the new outbreak.

Nearly all the infected workers were employed in fish markets and factories and are all housed in dormitories that have been closed off to the public since the recent outbreak began. Since the initial spike in late December, the virus has now been found in 54 of Thailand’s 73 provinces.

The government has ordered all schools closed from yesterday and had taken earlier other steps to try and restrict the spread of the virus, including closing entertainment venues and banning all public gatherings. It has not closed down shopping malls or stores, while restaurants are still allowed to operate.

Provincial governors can also order their own, tougher, measures. Bangkok authorities have announced that all eateries can only do takeaway service from 7pm to 6am.

The government has been considering tougher measures if the spread of the virus does not slow down around the country.

Passengers wait in line to be screened at Hua Lamphong Central Railway Station in Bangkok. PHOTO: AFP