Thailand will soon have 8,000 new daily cases without intervention: health officials

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul greets people Sunday at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon province, the epicenter of the 11-day-old COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: Disease Control Department
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul greets people Sunday at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon province, the epicenter of the 11-day-old COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: Disease Control Department

Thailand will hit 8,000 new COVID-19 cases per day next month if it doesn’t do more to contain its second-wave outbreak, the public face of the pandemic response said this morning.

While delivering the day’s caseload – up slightly from Monday – COVID-19 task force spokesman Taweesilp Wisanuyothin said that the virus has been spreading at an alarming rate since it re-emerged 11 days ago, spreading to 44 provinces and the capital and sickening more than 2,000. He blamed its fast spread on people gathering socially to celebrate or gamble, and warned of stricter containment measures to come.

“If we hadn’t imposed any measures at all, we could have as many as 18,000 new cases per day,  and if we don’t tighten measures, it will be 8,000 cases per day,” Taweesilp said, adding that Thailand was now on track for the latter. “If we help each other, we can, at best, estimate there will be 1,000 cases per day.”

The fresh outbreak’s first fatality occurred last night with the death of a middle-aged employee of an illegal gambling den in Rayong province, where dozens took ill. Of the 134 new locally transmitted cases announced today, 14 people were in Bangkok. No details of their whereabouts were made available.

He asked local health officials nationwide to focus on the details and determine how risky their areas are on the sub-district level using a new color-coded risk system in which red is most severe and green means no cases found. 

Bangkok remains in the orange, which means a potential curfew and closure of high-risk venues. As of today, new rules have been placed on nightlife venues through Jan. 5, with some wiggle room to see them through New Year’s Eve. Read the new rules here

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