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Thailand’s government has extended lockdowns added 16 more provinces to its list of “dark red or maximum and strict control zones” as covid-19 continues to surge in Bangkok and throughout Thailand.
The 9pm–4am curfew hours and other strict measures will be imposed in Bangkok and 28 other provinces for two weeks starting tomorrow.
The Health department is expected to evaluate the pandemic situation again on Aug 18. Health officials also indicated another lockdown extension until the end of this month is on the cards.
“It is highly likely the [restrictions] will continue until Aug 31 if the situation does not improve,” Dr. Apisamai Srirangson said at a press briefing at Government House following a CCSA virtual meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to review Covid-19 measures yesterday.
The Government has also decided to ease restrictions for restaurants and eateries at malls in the dark red zones, allowing them to sell food via delivery using online platforms, Dr Apisamai said, adding dine-in services are still banned.
Existing restrictions in the dark red zones will remain in place, including curbs on inter-provincial travel, she said. People who wish to visit dark red zones must have a proper reason and will be screened upon entry, she said, noting a ban on gatherings of five people or more continues.
Bangkok People to work from home
Shopping malls, department stores and community shopping centres are closed except for supermarkets, pharmacies and vaccination stations in their premises, Dr Apisamai said. No public transport services are available from 9pm–4am, she said, noting public transport in dark red zones is limited to 50% capacity.
People in dark red zone provinces are still urged to work from home, Dr Apisamai said. People with medical reasons and businesses transporting essential goods are exempt from the lockdowns, she said.
The curfew and lockdown measures have been enforced in Greater Bangkok — Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani and Nakhon Pathom, as well as the four southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla since July 12.
Chon Buri, Chachoengsao and Ayutthaya were added to the list on July 20. The current measures will expire on Monday.
New covid-19 cases explode in Thailand
The CCSA yesterday added 16 more provinces to the dark red zone list — Ang Thong, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Kanchanaburi, Lop Buri, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Prachin Buri, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Suphan Buri, and Tak.
It was found that infection rates in Bangkok showed signs of slowing down, accounting for 39% of infections nationwide while infection rates in other provinces went up due to the Delta variant, Dr Apisamai said.
Thailand country logged 18,027 new cases and 133 new Covid-19 fatalities over the previous 24 hours.
There were 374 among prison inmates. Bangkok led all provinces with 2,899 new infections, followed by 1,259 in Samut Sakhon, 1,147 in Chon Buri and 1,113 cases in Samut Prakan.
Hospital bed shortages
Hospitals in the Bangkok metropolitan area are running out of beds due the surge in patients coming down with the delta variant of covid-19, a health official said Sunday, as the country reported a record number of infections for the fourth time this week.
Thailand has in the last few months been struggling with its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant of covid-19, first detected in India.
“We don’t know where to put the sick people anymore, the ER [emergency room] units in many hospitals have to be temporarily closed because they no longer have bed spaces,” Somsak Akksilp, head of the Department of Medical Services, said.
In Bangkok and nearby provinces, more than 1,200 people were waiting for hospital beds and over 6,000 called a hot line over the past week requesting treatment, health authorities said.
There are more than 37,000 hospital beds in Bangkok, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.