Covid hits a new peak in Thailand

BANGKOK, 16 April 2021: As the Covid-19 count hits a new daily peak of 1,540 local cases on Wednesday, the Thai government revisits the lockdown option for the worst affected provinces.

Lockdown measures could be introduced as early as this Friday for Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chonburi provinces that have been hard hit by a surge in infections traced to entertainment venues frequented by Bangkok’s wealthy elite.

The latest spike, blamed on the more infectious UK variant, started 1 April with 26 new cases and soared to reach 967 cases on the eve of the Songkran festival, 11 April. Since then, the count rose to 1,335 cases on 14 April and 1,540 on 15 April.

On Thursday, travel blogger Richard Barrow listed 18 “red zone provinces* that are likely to under strict lockdown measures with some variations stipulated by provincial authorities. Another 59 provinces are identified as amber zones with a lighter version of lockdown measures that are likely to be applied soon.

Proposed lockdown list

18 red provinces*:
1. Bangkok
2. Chiang Mai
3. Chonburi
4. Samut Prakan
5. Prachuap Khiri Kan
6. Samut Sakhon
7. Pathum Thani
8. Nakhon Pathom
9. Phuket
10. Nakhon Ratchasima
11. Nonthaburi
12. Songkhla
13. Tak
14. Udon Thani
15. Suphanburi
16. Sa Kaeo
17. Rayong
18. Khon Kaen

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will recommend tough measures at a meeting chaired by the prime minister later today (Friday).

Earlier in the week, shopping malls in Thailand announced early closing at 2100  for 14 days while public health officials favour suspending inter-provincial travel and urged people to remain in their current location rather than returning home from their Songkran trip if at all possible.

In related moves, the government ordered offices to introduce a work from home rule for staff until the end of April.

Thailand confirmed in its Thursday briefing 1,540 new local cases and three imported cases registered 15 April, raising the count to 37,453 cases since the count began in January 2020. The death toll stands at 97.