Thailand holds off on new COVID-19 shutdowns
Thailand’s government held off from ordering new nationwide business shutdowns yesterday amid a wave of coronavirus cases but empowered some provincial governors to set their own restrictions and pleaded with the public not to travel.
The country, which had largely curbed the virus by mid-2020, saw a second wave of outbreaks beginning in December. On Sunday, it confirmed 315 new COVID-19 cases, majority of them local transmission, bringing its total to 7,694 cases and 64 deaths.
Samut Sakhon, a province south of Bangkok where the current outbreak started, reported 541 additional cases on Sunday.
Thailand also reported its first known case of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus called B.1.1.7 yesterday. Yong Poovorawan, a senior virologist at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, said in a post on his Facebook page.
The variant was found in a family of four who were in quarantine after arriving from Britain, and Yong said there is no risk of that variant being spread in Thailand.
Officials say the current domestic outbreak is linked to illegal border migration from neighboring Myanmar.
The government has designated 28 provinces, including Bangkok, as high-risk zones, recommending suspension of some businesses and crowded activities.