The closure of nightclubs in Bangkok and 40 provinces is being considered by Thailand as authorities rush to stem a new wave of coronavirus and the arrival in the country of a more contagious variant of its strain.
The Thai COVID-19 strike team urged the public and private sectors to allow their employees to work from home and avoid unnecessary travel, as 405 new cases were announced today in a new outbreak linked to Bangkok’s nightlife.
This increase in cases is being recorded at a difficult time for Thailand, ahead of next year ‘s annual Songran festival, which is known for large social gatherings and crowds, banned by authorities.
Also yesterday, Wednesday, Thailand confirmed for the first time the local presence of the most contagious variant strain of the new coronavirus B.1.1.7, which was first identified in Britain, as broadcast by AMPE.
This variant of its stem SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in more than 100 countries and is accused of causing new waves of virus cases in record numbers.
Thailand plans to launch a mass vaccination campaign in June, but has already vaccinated more than 300,000 people belonging to the healthcare sector or vulnerable groups.
Experts in Thailand wonder how the mutated strain managed to enter the country despite strict border controls and the quarantine system, which has helped keep all cases in the territory to the relatively low number of 30,310 and deaths from COVID-19 to 95.
The strike team stressed that the introduction of a change in the quarantine period this month, which reduces it to 7 or 10 days, instead of the mandatory 14 days, could be reconsidered.
The Ministry of Health seeks approval from this group closing nightclubs, including pubs and karaoke bars, for two weeks in 40 provinces and Bangkok, according to a percussion team spokesman. New cases have been reported in 20 provinces.
Earlier in the day, government spokeswoman Anousa Burapasaisri said that outbreaks had already been closed and that more categories could be affected if the outbreak spread.