Thai Covid Panel Skips Bangkok Lockdown, Limits Labor Camps

Thailand’s national Covid-19 panel announced a one-month clampdown on movements from all residential camps for construction and factory workers in metropolitan Bangkok and four other provinces, as infections continue to climb and medical facilities reach capacity.

With the contagious delta variant now spreading in Thailand, new clusters found in housing for laborers have added to the strain on medical facilities and staff in the capital, challenging the government’s efforts to contain a surge that began early April.

The Labor Ministry will compensate all Thai and migrant workers as health authorities try to contain the virus’s spread from camps where workers eat and sleep in crowded quarters. The measures, which will affect construction sites in Bangkok and four southern provinces, will be effective from Monday, according to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha. He also asked the public for cooperation by limiting travel.

“We must consider measures carefully so as not to worsen the health situation or the economy, while also speeding up the pace of vaccinations,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said. He did not specify details, but said some restrictions to curb “risky” activities would be implemented Monday.

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration sub-panel, headed by Prayuth, met Friday afternoon to consider implementing a lockdown in the capital, Apisamai Srirangsan, the center’s spokeswoman, said earlier. Infections are rising as people continue to socialize with families, friends and colleagues, she said.

Thailand reported 3,644 new infections on Friday, with 1,142 of the cases found in Bangkok. A neighboring industrial province, Samut Sakhon, had the second-highest count with 295 cases. The tally took Thailand’s cumulative caseload since the pandemic began to 236,291.

Enough Covid-19 vaccination doses have so far been administered to cover about 6% of Thailand’s population, with the government seeking to boost inoculations as it aims to reopen borders by October. Prayuth affirmed the so-called Phuket Sandbox plan to reopen tourism in the island destination to fully inoculated visitors starting in July. International travelers to the province won’t be subject to a two-week quarantine that’s mandated elsewhere in the country.

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