Thailand: Latest Covid-19 outbreak spreads to 22 provinces

(NST) – The latest Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand has spread to at least 22 provinces in the kingdom and more than 1,200 cases are reportedly linked to a shuttered seafood market in the southwestern province of Samut Sakhon, thus far.

Disease Control Department director, Dr Sophon Iamsirithaworn said over 6,300 Covid-19 tests were conducted following the latest flare-up of infections at the seafood market.

“Almost one in five of the tests came back positive for Covid-19,” he said at a press conference, here, today.

Over the last 24 hours, Dr Sophon said 65 cases were reported in 22 provinces in the kingdom including 16 cases in Bangkok followed by Nakhon Pathom (10), Chachoengsao (six), Samut Prakan and Saraburi (five each) and Pathum Thani (three).

The index case at the seafood market is believed to be a 67-year-old shrimp seller who tested positive for the deadly virus last week. Most of the patients have been asymptomatic.

Following a surge in cases, the government has immediately imposed a lockdown and night curfew in Samut Sakhon.

To date, a total of 5,762 Covid-19 cases and 60 deaths were reported in the kingdom. However, the statistics did not include cases found in migrant worker dormitories in Samut Sakhon today.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has ordered all 437 schools and 299 pre-schools and kindergartens under its jurisdiction to close for 12 days from tomorrow to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha today ordered the relevant authorities to set up a field hospital with 1,000 beds in Samut Sakhon.

Prayuth, who is also Defence Minister, also ordered the enforcement authorities to step up efforts to halt illegal migration into the kingdom and step up patrolling along the border to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants.

Prayuth is scheduled to chair the CCSA meeting tomorrow and additional measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus are expected to be announced.