Thailand Reports Record Virus Cases, Delays Bangkok Easing

BANGKOK, Thailand — Thailand is stepping up efforts to stop the coronavirus from spreading in labour camps, industries, and marketplaces, as the number of new cases recorded reached a new high on Monday.

According to a government spokesperson, public health officials met with labour and industry leaders to suggest better strategies to prevent infections in crowded, high-risk areas.

On Monday, the authorities recorded a total of 5,485 new cases, with over 2,000 of them incarcerated. Since the pandemic began, the number of confirmed deaths has climbed by 19, bringing the total to 1,031 fatalities.

The government overruled a move by Bangkok’s governor to relax several pandemic restrictions in the city, including the reopening of parks, because of mounting numbers. The plan, which was supposed to go into force on Tuesday, has been pushed back 14 days.

Thailand has mostly managed to keep breakouts under control, but at a high cost to the economy, particularly in terms of tourism, because international tourists were mostly barred from entering the nation. That changed in early April when a cluster of cases concentrated on Bangkok pubs and clubs expanded as many individuals traveled over the Thai New Year vacation, which lasted for a week.

lgnews-Thailand-Reports-Record2The overall number of reported cases has now reached 159,792, with 82 percent occurring during the most recent outbreak. The majority of the instances occur in jails, construction worker housing, workplaces, slums, and low-income housing regions.

Workers in Petchaburi, Thailand’s central province, staged a protest last week against working conditions. Workers were confined in a large, vacant facility, with blankets put in rows on a concrete floor, according to photos uploaded online.

Cal-Comp Electronics (Thailand), one of the leading suppliers of electronics to major corporations such as Western Digital, Seagate, Hewlett Packard, and Panasonic, shut down for 14 days starting May 21 and had recorded 3,730 confirmed cases as of Friday.

Officials from the corporation forwarded inquiries to the provincial government, which indicated that a protracted power outage had exacerbated the workers’ complaints, but that conditions had improved with the supply of more water, better food, and fans to better circulate the air.

On Monday, Bangkok recorded 1,356 cases. Apisamai Srirangsan, a spokeswoman for the government’s coronavirus unit, said the capital is dealing with 45 clusters.

Authorities were looking at how to prevent diseases from spreading among people who live, work, and commute in close proximity.

“We found that workers from various industries lived in the same region at times, which allowed the virus to spread to other areas. Another assumption is that many of them work as subcontractors and are constantly moving from one job site to the next,” Apisamai added.

Workers have been asked to stay inside building sites in various districts of Bangkok and elsewhere.

Approximately 3.3 percent of the country’s 69 million citizens have got at least one dose of vaccination thus far. Only 7 million vaccination shots have been acquired by the government.

The government has been negotiating with suppliers to obtain more supplies that will allow it to fully inoculate around 70% of the population by the end of the year. Only approximately 45 percent of the population would have been immunized under previous plans.

Even as it tries to contain the pandemic’s latest, largest outbreak, the government has been edging closer to reopening the nation to visitors.

lgnews-Thailand-Reports-Record3The governor of the central bank, Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, said at a seminar on Monday that growth might not recover to pre-pandemic levels until early 2023, according to the Bangkok Post and other local media.

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