BANGKOK • At least 10 Cabinet ministers and dozens of lawmakers in Thailand were self-isolating yesterday after coming into contact with positive coronavirus cases, amid a sharp increase in infections in the capital Bangkok.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob told local television yesterday that he had tested positive for Covid-19, while his Bhumjaithai Party said other ministers, lawmakers and coalition politicians had been in contact with confirmed cases.
Thailand has seen infections jump in the past week, although numbers are still low in comparison with some of its regional neighbours, owing to more than a year of strict border controls, quarantine, testing and contact-tracing protocols. The authorities recorded 334 new infections yesterday, with no new deaths, bringing the country's case total to 29,905, with 95 fatalities.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha changed a weekly get-together of his 36-member Cabinet to a virtual meeting yesterday and urged ministers to avoid exposure to the virus. He said the public should exercise caution ahead of Thai New Year celebrations next week, when crowds could gather across the country.
Thailand has detected at least 24 cases of the B117 coronavirus variant first identified in Britain, a government health expert said yesterday, in its first known domestic transmission of the highly contagious variant.
The cases, detected at the weekend, were found in a cluster of visitors to entertainment venues in Bangkok.