Thailand finds new coronavirus clusters in south and east
BANGKOK (AP) - Health officials in Thailand said Saturday that two new clusters of coronavirus cases were found that appear to be linked to a serious outbreak discovered a week earlier in migrant workers in an industrial province near Bangkok .
The new cases were found in 19 motorcycle club members holding a holiday meeting on Lanta Island in southern Krabi Province and nine people in a gambling den in eastern Rayong Province, the Disease Control Department said.
The first motorcyclist diagnosed with the virus was from Samut Sakhon province, where the outbreak occurred among migrant workers.
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110 new coronavirus cases were reported on Saturday morning, bringing Thailand's total to 6,020. 60 of the 110 were linked to the Samut Sakhon eruption.
In early December, Thailand had 4,008 cases. The death toll has been 60 since early November. Until recently, almost all new cases were found in people quarantined upon arrival from abroad.
Cases related to the Samut Sakhon outbreak, which was first detected in a large fish market, have now been reported in 33 provinces.
The COVID-19 situation management center, which coordinates Thailand's fight against the virus, said Friday that a nationwide lockdown may need to be in place by March if social distancing and other restrictions are not observed.
Thailand has been seen as a success story in fighting the disease by taking important measures early on, including banning the arrival of virtually all foreign tourists. It recently tried to restart its lucrative travel industry, but the discovery of more than 1,300 cases in Samut Sakhon among migrant workers, mostly from Myanmar, has put the authorities on alert.
Restrictions, including limiting night hours in public places and temporarily closing schools, have been tightened from province to province according to the number of infections.
There are 40 active cases in Bangkok. Due to the contact tracing, several restaurants and other businesses were closed for decontamination and the city's schools were closed for 12 days.
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