Thai Premier Says More Curbs Planned to Stem Virus Flareup
(Bloomberg) -- Thailand is weighing fresh control measures to contain the biggest wave of coronavirus outbreak to hit the Southeast Asian nation after capital Bangkok ordered more businesses to close from Monday.
The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, the nation’s main virus task force chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, will consider the new restrictions on Wednesday, National Security Council Secretary General Natthapol Nakpanich said in Bangkok. The panel will also consider whether more stringent curbs on movements and businesses are needed in Bangkok, he said, in response to some groups calling for a lockdown of the capital.
Thailand has seen its total Covid-19 cases nearly double since the beginning of April with the resurgence of an outbreak tied to entertainment venues in Bangkok that has since spread to much of the nation’s 77 provinces. The country reported its biggest one-day jump in new infections on Saturday and record fatalities on Sunday, with total case count now reaching 57,508.
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said he expects infections to ease and the situation to “return to normal” in two or three months. Supattanapong Punmeechaow, another deputy premier, said the tourism reopening plan in July is still on track despite the recent surge in cases.
Authorities in Bangkok closed dozens of businesses such as cinemas, gyms, and convention centers for two weeks starting Monday, while allowing malls and convenience stores to remain open but with shortened hours. Earlier this month, the city of 10 million people had ordered the shutdown of pubs and bars, which were identified as sources for new clusters of infections.
The government plans to accelerate vaccinations with a target to administer 30 million doses between June and August, said Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council. A single command center to manage the vaccine rollout will be set up, he said.
Thailand has so far relied on Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and AstraZeneca Plc’s shots for its priority sector workers and people at high risk of infections. It plans to boost its vaccine orders by more than 50% to 100 million doses this year. A total of more than 1.1 million shots have been administered so far, official data show.
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