5 provinces in Thailand are in total lockdown, with travel restrictions barring anyone from leaving or entering, unless absolutely necessary. The provinces affected by the tough new measures are the eastern provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat, as well as the central province of Samut Sakhon, where Thailand’s Covid-19 resurgence originated last month.
Thai PBS World reports that Deputy Public Health Minister Satit Pitutacha has praised PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration for agreeing to the lockdown, which has been implemented as a result of escalating infection rates in the provinces. He says it’s hoped the measures will only need to be in force for a short term, acknowledging the effect of such a lockdown on the economy. However, without it, he says there is a real risk of Covid-19 spreading to the rest of the country.
The total number of provinces with cases of Covid-19 now stands at 54, with provinces colour-coded depending on the severity. In Bangkok, which is also under tough restrictions, a number of attractions have been closed until January 31, including the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. While travel to and from the capital has not been banned, travellers in and out of the region face strict health screening measures.
In other news, a team at Prince of Songkhla University in the south of the country have created a new Covid-19 test kit, which has demonstrated 99% accuracy in detecting antibodies in the blood within 15 minutes. Thirakamol Pengsakul, who led the team, says that, as 90% of infected people are asymptomatic, the kit has been created to detect antibodies in those exposed to the virus within the previous week or 2. It has already been approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration and is set to go into mass production, with a target of 100,000 kits a day.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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