Muscat Daily

Thai provinces fear virus surge out of Bangkok ahead of holidays

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Bangkok, Thailand - Almost 40 Thai provinces have brought in entry restrictio­ns and quarantine requiremen­ts for people coming from Bangkok and other coronaviru­s hotspots ahead of a holiday travel period, as the capital grapples with soaring infections.

On Sunday the government announced 967 new infections, bringing the overall tally to more than 32,000.

Separately, health officials in the northern city of Chiang Mai flagged a further 281 cases, that were likely to be included in Monday’s national figures.

Bangkok appears to be the epicentre of Thailand’s third wave, with more than 1,000 cases reported this month.

More than 4,000 people are in hospital with coronaviru­s across the country.

Bangkok has set up ten field hospitals to accommodat­e up to 3,000 patients for Thailand’s ‘most severe outbreak’, according to Suksan Kittisupak­orn, director-general of the Medical Service Department.

Thai authoritie­s have detected a highly infectious variant of the virus originally found in Britain.

Festivitie­s for the rowdy Songkran holiday marking the Thai new year, known for its public water fights, have been curtailed, with officials cancelling Bangkok street celebratio­ns to discourage crowds.

Thousands of Thais traditiona­lly return to their home provinces during the Songkran holiday period, which officially starts on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Prayut ChanO-Cha encouraged people to stay home during the holidays.

“Please don’t hold activities which will draw many people together including water fights or foam parties,” he said in a podcast on Saturday.

The national government has not brought in a travel ban but, as of noon Sunday, 38 out of 77 provinces had announced their own entry restrictio­ns.

They are asking people from Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakran to self-isolate for ten to 14 days.

On Friday authoritie­s ordered the closure off all entertainm­ent venues in 41 provinces for two weeks.

So far only 97 people have died from coronaviru­s in Thailand, according to official figures.

 ?? (AFP) ?? Health workers put on full PPE before going inside a COVID-19 field hospital, on the outskirts of Bangkok on Saturday
(AFP) Health workers put on full PPE before going inside a COVID-19 field hospital, on the outskirts of Bangkok on Saturday

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