Thailand reports 4th record daily rise in COVID cases this week

BANGKOK (CNA) – Thailand reported 1,543 new coronavirus cases yesterday, the sharpest increase since the start of the pandemic and the fourth record rise this week, amid a third wave of infections in the Southeast Asian country.

While Thailand has up to now managed to keep case numbers relatively contained compared to many other countries, the new outbreak comes as many have travelled during the country’s Songkran new year holidays and with vaccination rates still low.

When asked whether lockdowns would be imposed, health official Chawetsan Namwat said measures were being formulated based on case numbers in each area and would be proposed to the coronavirus taskforce for approval today.

“We have to divide up the areas based on seriousness, which is different and so measures have to be suitable for each area,” Chawetsan told a briefing.

Authorities have already urged people to limit travel and begin working from home.

Shopping malls will also close early at 9pm and the banking association said branches outside malls will close at 3.30pm there would be limit on customer numbers.

Thailand’s last major lockdown was in late March last year, with a curfew imposed in April, before seeing months of relatively relaxed curbs as cases stayed mainly contained.

Of the new infections reported yesterday, 409 were in capital Bangkok, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Locals queue for a COVID-19 nasal swab test in Bangkok, Thailand. PHOTO: CNA