Coronavirus Asia, Europe

Bangkok to close schools for two weeks as virus spreads in Thailand

It tightens curbs to control new wave of infections largely linked to two clusters that are reaching Thai capital

BANGKOK • The Thai capital of Bangkok will close all schools for two weeks after the New Year holiday as it tightens measures to control a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the city said yesterday.

Thailand confirmed 279 new coronavirus cases yesterday, most of them linked to a cluster among migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province south of Bangkok, and another cluster linked to illegal gambling dens that started in the eastern province of Rayong.

These new clusters have started to spread in Bangkok, prompting city officials to tighten measures to curb the infections.

"We are beginning to detect new cases linked to students and other service businesses," said Mr Pongsakorn Kwanmuang, the spokesman for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. "Therefore, we decided to close more places," he said.

All schools, daycare centres for the young and the elderly, pre-schools and tuition centres will be close from next Monday to Jan 17 while other public facilities, including amusement parks, playgrounds, public baths and massage parlours, will be closed starting from today, he said.

Mr Pongsakorn also said the city is considering restrictions on eating in at restaurants but that more discussions were needed with the government's Covid-19 task force today.

Thailand recorded two new deaths from coronavirus yesterday, taking the number of deaths to 63, while the total number of infections hit 7,163 since the outbreak started in January last year.

The majority of the new cases resulted from local transmission of the disease while six were imported, according to the Covid-19 task force.

The two patients reported to have died yesterday were a 44-year-old Thai man who had visited a crowded bar in Bangkok, and a 70-year-old Thai man who had illegally slipped across the Thai-Myanmar border in Mae Sot district of Tak province.

According to the Bangkok Post, the government task force was concerned that more cases would be reported as people travel from or return to the provinces during the New Year holiday, which started on Thursday and ends tomorrow.

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the task force's spokesman, warned that the situation remains serious and it could take some time for the authorities to get it under control.

  • 279

    Number of new coronavirus cases in Thailand yesterday.

"Do not expect the spread to end today or tomorrow," he said, adding that he expected the situation to ease in mid-February, said the Bangkok Post.

REUTERS, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2021, with the headline 'Bangkok to close schools for two weeks as virus spreads in Thailand'. Subscribe