Thailand confident coronavirus outbreak is controllable
BANGKOK (AP) - The Thai government is confident that there can be a resurgence of the coronavirus without a national lockdown and is relying on provincial controls instead as the outbreak continued to spread, mainly among migrant fish workers.
"I can assure you that the government will do its best," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said in a live televised address following a meeting of the government's COVID-19 coordination center. "The Ministry of Health confirms to me that it is controllable when everyone works together."
Thailand has been widely seen as successful in fighting the coronavirus, in part due to its prestigious public health infrastructure and people's compliance with masked wear and other protocols.
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However, the cases have risen significantly since an outbreak was detected last week among migrants from Myanmar working in a fish market in Samut Sakorn, a province near the capital, Bangkok. Millions of low-wage jobs in Thailand are filled by workers from less affluent neighboring countries, particularly Myanmar.
As of Sunday, more than 1,000 migrant workers have tested positive for the virus, along with Thais who work or live near the fish market that supplies much of the country.
Contact tracers tracked potential incidents by identifying the vendors' key customers, and tested around 10,000 people at risk. Cases related to the Samut Sakhon market have been found in 27 provinces, the government said.
Health officials confirmed 67 new cases Thursday, bringing the nation's total to 5,829, including 60 deaths. New cases among migrant workers were not reported on Wednesday and Thursday, with the statement that they were being re-examined.
The government's strategy to contain the outbreak is to impose restrictions by province.
Samut Sakhon is a “tightly controlled” area that has field hospitals to isolate patients, shut down non-essential businesses, make people work from home, and ban New Year celebrations. The province is an industrial center and some factories are allowed to continue operating.
Bangkok falls into the second heaviest category of "controlled". Public institutions have limited opening hours, but can remain open. There will be no public New Years celebrations, and private celebrations should be limited in size. Most of the country, the provinces with fewer than 10 COVID-19 cases, falls into two categories of surveillance.
The city council of Bangkok closed more than 700 schools and kindergartens as a precaution for 12 days on Wednesday.
“The efforts of the last few days have paid off. Statistics are falling, "said Natapanu Nopakun, the English-speaking spokesman for the state agency to fight coronavirus. "The keyword is" controllable "."
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