Thailand Adds 745 Virus Cases, New Business Restrictions

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha puts on a face mask at a news conference on coronavirus sitations at Government House, Jan. 4, 2021.

BANGKOK — Thailand registered 745 new coronavirus cases in two days on Monday with a new death reported in Bangkok, where a semi-lockdown went into effect, the government said.

The Centre of COVID-19 Situation Administration said the new infections bring the total number since last January to 8,439, while the death toll stands at 65 since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The agency said the number included 152 Thais and 577 migrant workers in Samut Sakhon, the province next to Bangkok that is the epicenter of the new outbreak. An additional 13 were found in special quarantine hotels for incoming travelers.

Nearly all the infected workers were employed in fish markets and factories and are all housed in dormitories, which have since the outbreak been closed off to the public. Since the initial surge in late December, the virus has now been found in 54 of Thailand’s 73 provinces.

The government has ordered all schools closed from Monday and had taken earlier other steps to try and restrict the spread of the virus, including closing bars, massage parlors, playgrounds and banned all public gatherings.

It has not yet closed down shopping malls and stores while restaurants are still allowed to operate but cannot serve alcoholic beverages.

Provincial governors can also order their own, tougher, measures and Bangkok authorities have decreed that all eateries can only do take away service from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting Monday evening.

The government has been considering tougher measures if the spread of the virus does not slow down around the country.