New infections rebound to 111 partly due to group returning from Indonesia

A medical staff member, wearing a face mask and shield as preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, takes the temperature of a baby before entry into the Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Hospital in Thailand’s southern province of Narathiwat on April 8, 2020. (Photo by Madaree TOHLALA / AFP)

A cluster infection of 42 members of a group of 76 Thais, returning from a religious event in Indonesia, has resulted in a rebound in Thailand’s daily new infections to 111, after 52 on Monday and 38 yesterday, according to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

“I was relieved yesterday that the number had dropped to 38, but I cautioned that we could not drop our guard.  Today we saw the figures increase, making Satun the newest province to report infections,” said CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin at a news conference today.

The 111 new COVID-19 cases have pushed Thailand’s total infections up to 2,369.  Three more fatalities, all foreigners, were also reported today, bringing the country’s death toll to 30.

One of the three fatalities was a Russian, who visited Phuket and developed symptoms as he was returning to Pattaya. His doctor advised him to stay at home, where he died on April 5th.

The second victim was a 69-year diabetic Indian businessman. He was admitted for treatment at a hospital in Bangkok and was pronounced dead yesterday.

The third victim was a 69-year old American who suffered from chronic kidney disease.  He was admitted for treatment at a hospital in Buri Ram province and died yesterday.

Dr. Taweesin said that, since all three victims were foreigners, it is crucial that all overseas arrivals, including Thai nationals, be subjected to rigorous screening and observation, but he pleaded with members of the public not to treat these arrivals with suspicion.

He noted that the risk of new infections from overseas arrivals, including Thais, has spread to all regions across the country, instead of just Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phuket and Prachuap Khiri Khan as initially reported.

Looking at the latest graph of infections, he said that Phuket now ranks first with 33% in every 100,000 of the population, compared to Bangkok’s 21.7%, although Bangkok has the highest total confirmed cases at 1,223, followed by Nonthaburi province’s 141 cases and Phuket’s 140 cases.

Provinces still free from the disease are Nan, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Chainat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Trat, Ranong and Phang-nga.

Dr. Taweesin said that the Disease Control Department in Phuket has adopted pro-active mass screening in high-risk zones, such as Bang La and Krathu, adding that the Public Health Ministry has also expanded free COVID-19 testing at all border crossings for all travellers with a 37.3oC body temperature,  sore throat, cough or breathing difficulty.

 

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