Thailand Reports First Virus Death Since November as Cases Surge

Thailand reported its first coronavirus death in almost two months as a resurgence in the outbreak tied to migrant laborers in a seaside province near the capital continued to infect more people.

A 45-year-old man in Rayong province, who tested positive for Covid-19 and had pre-existing heart conditions, died on Monday, according to Deputy Health Minister Satit Pitutecha. The casino worker’s death was Thailand’s first virus fatality since Nov. 5, taking the nation’s total to 61 since the outbreak began in January.

The Southeast Asian nation reported 144 new cases on Monday, with 115 of them among locals, taking the cumulative caseload to 6,285. About a fifth of the total cases were reported in the past two weeks, with more than 1,300 infections linked to a cluster found in Samut Sakhon province neighboring Bangkok.

Samut Sakhon Governor Weerasak Wijitsaengsri tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, prompting Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to isolate himself at home for 14 days, according to Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesperson for the COVID-19 response center. Anutin, who visited the virus hotspot region last week, has so far tested negative, Taweesilp said.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha has ordered aggressive contact tracing and testing to contain the latest outbreak and avoided a national lockdown as it did during the first bout of the pandemic in March. Bangkok was rated a second-tier coronavirus risk zone last week due to its close proximity to the virus hotspot and the government has advised people in high-risk zones ahead of the new year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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