Thailand reports youngest victim among record tally of Covid-19 deaths

Bangkok has now recorded 28,658 new infections since the outbreak emerged in April.
Bangkok has now recorded 28,658 new infections since the outbreak emerged in April.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand reported on Tuesday (May 18) 35 new coronavirus deaths, a record daily number that included the country's youngest victim up to now, a two-month-old baby, as the authorities struggle to contain a third wave of infections.

The South-east Asian country's latest Covid-19 outbreak has seen infections more than triple and deaths increase sixfold since April, following a year of success in containing earlier outbreaks.

The new deaths included a two-month-old baby with a heart condition, the Covid-19 task force said.

Bangkok, the epicentre of the current outbreak, recorded 876 new infections on Monday, still the highest among the country's provinces.

"New infections found in Bangkok remain high. Overall new cases are still on a rising trend," Mr Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the Covid-19 task force, told a briefing.

Bangkok has now recorded 28,658 new infections since the outbreak emerged in April.

The latest cases included 29 clusters in markets and most recently, construction sites, he said, adding that more than 1,100 new cases were found at a construction site in the Laksi district.

Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government planned to vaccinate at least five million people in Bangkok, or 70 per cent of its population, in the period from June to July.

Thailand has also seen a series of prison clusters and the corrections department said 11,670 inmates from 13 jails had now been infected.

The authorities have yet to start a mass immunisation drive, with 1.52 million recipients of a first-dose of a Covid-19 vaccine so far, mostly front-line workers or members from high-risk groups.

A mass vaccination drive is expected next month, as Thailand aims to inoculate 70 per cent of adults among its more than 66 million population.

Thailand announced 2,473 new infections on Tuesday, taking the overall number of cases to 113,555 since the pandemic started last year.