Thai Virus Cases Climb As Stricter Border Surveillance Ordered
(Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s coronavirus infections continued to climb following an outbreak in a coastal province near the capital last weekend, as the nation’s premier ordered stricter border surveillance to catch illegal entrants from neighboring countries including Myanmar.
The Southeast Asian nation reported 427 new cases on Tuesday, as a cluster in Samut Sakhon province outside of Bangkok expanded around workers at seafood processing plants. Thailand hadn’t reported more than 100 cases in any day since early April until the new outbreak was found on Dec. 17.
Most of the new cases are among migrant workers from Myanmar, with 84 of those in Tuesday’s tally coming from people tested near the provincial facilities of Thai Union Group Pcl, which owns the Chicken of the Sea tuna brand, according to a health ministry official. Thailand’s health ministry said about 90% of all the new infections discovered from Dec. 17 were found among immigrant labor, some of whom were undocumented.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha ordered a step up in border surveillance. Thailand shares a long boundary with Myanmar, where infections total around 120,00 and new cases top some 1,000 a day.
Thailand’s SET index rebounded by as much 1.5% after Monday’s steepest plunge since March.
Prayuth yesterday said he’ll decide in a week whether to extend restrictions beyond Samut Sakhon to curb the spread of the virus to other provinces, including Bangkok. The capital has the highest concentration of people, with 16 million residents, and accounts for almost half of national gross domestic product, according to the government’s economic forecasting agency.
Thailand was the first nation to report Covid-19 infections outside of China. It had been relatively successful in containing the virus, with infections totaling 5,716, and was betting on a tourism industry revival to pull the economy out of recession.
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