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Thailand reports 11 new virus cases, all imported

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Goods on offer outside a teachers’ cooperative in Chai Nat province on Thursday for people hard-hit by the virus lockdown restrictions. Bangkok Post

BANGKOK (Bangkok Post) – The Thai government on Thursday reported 11 new cases of coronavirus disease, all quarantined returnees from overseas and five of them masseurs, raising the total to 3,065.

There were no new deaths.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said one new case was a Thai woman, 32, who returned from India last Friday. She had no symptoms and was quarantined in Samut Prakan province. On Monday she tested positive for the virus and was sent to a hospital in Samut Prakan.

Six other cases were aged between 27 and 52 years and had returned from working in Qatar. Five of them were masseurs and the other a maid. They were quarantined in Bangkok and tested positive on Tuesday. Three of them were asymptomatic and the others had sore throats, no sense of smell or taste, headaches, muscle pain and excessive phlegm.

The four other cases were male construction workers aged between 39 and 51 who had been in the employ of a foreign company in Kuwait. They returned on Sunday, were quarantined in Bangkok and tested positive on Tuesday. They had headaches, no sense of smell, runny noses and fever.

“We can say that there are no new locally infected cases now as far as official reports are concerned. All the new cases reported daily were infected in other countries,” Dr Taweesilp said.

Of the 3,065 accumulated cases, 2,945 (96 percent) had recovered with 14 more patients released over the previous 24 hours. Sixty-three patients remained at hospitals. The death toll remained at 57.

Since February, 128 cases, mostly Thais, were detected at quarantine facilities – or 0.47 percent of all quarantined people, Dr Taweesilp said.

Meanwhile, a committee evaluating the easing of lockdown measures has proposed extending the opening hours of shopping malls and shortening the curfew period next month, according to a source at Wednesday’s National Security Council (NSC) meeting.

The next stage of the loosening of the coronavirus lockdown could happen if the kingdom continues to record low numbers of new cases.

These are among proposals agreed at the meeting and will be forwarded to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) for a decision on Friday.

However, businesses and venues which are at high risk of COVID-19 transmissions, such as boxing stadiums and pubs, will remain closed, the source said.

NSC secretary-general Somsak Roongsita chaired the meeting on Wednesday, attended by representatives of security, public health and economy-related agencies.

After five hours, the committee agreed the current curfew period of 11pm to 4am would be shortened by one hour – from 11pm to 3am – to help market traders who usually trade in the early hours, the source said.

The relaxation will also cover hair salons, beauty and massage parlours, the source said.

Other businesses and venues that will also be allowed to reopen include cinemas, gyms, zoos, convention and meeting venues, while opening hours of shopping malls will be extended from the current 8pm to 9pm, the source added.

However, these venues and businesses are required to put in place rigorous health safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus, the source said.

After heated debate, the committee decided that venues and businesses that are in the high-risk category will remain closed and reopen in the final stage of lockdown easing.

They include boxing stadiums, pubs, water park and amusement parks said.

The next stage of relaxation means businesses allowed to reopen will be permitted to do more activities, not reopen other ones, the source said.

The source also said the committee did not have any problem with the resumption of inter-provincial travel, though it instructed state agencies to come up with details about disease control measures for border provinces if the restrictions on travel are lifted.

The ban on entry into the country via all channels will remain in effect, the source added.

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