Health minister calls for re-opening of bars, nightclubs to be pushed back

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Thailand’s Health Minister says the re-opening of nightlife venues should be postponed given the number of businesses that failed to implement disease prevention measures. Anutin Charnvirakul’s suggestion comes as a number of clusters of the Omicron variant have led to major outbreaks and can be traced back to bars and restaurants in a number of provinces.

Anutin says there is evidence that the outbreaks originated at bars and restaurants where alcohol was being sold and Covid-19 prevention measures were not being adhered to. According to a Bangkok Post report, the health minister says venues that repeatedly failed to implement disease control measures are the reason the government must now reconsider the planned re-opening of other venues, such as nightclubs.

“The Department of Disease Control will also reconsider whether it would be appropriate to re-open such venues on January 15.”

According to the report, he goes on to slam the “lack of conscience” of such operators, blaming them for putting Thailand at risk of another Covid-19 wave and threatening them with legal repercussions. To date, Thailand has reported 2,062 confirmed cases of the highly-contagious Omicron variant. The north-eastern provinces of Kalasin and Roi Et have reported major clusters, with 231 and 180 infections respectively, while the eastern province of Chon Buri has reported a cluster of 70.

Meanwhile, Opas Karnkawinpong from the DDC says the Omicron variant will continue to spread across Thailand in the coming months. He has urged people to test themselves with antigen kits regularly and to work from home if they can.

“We expect to see Omicron cases rise in the next 1 or 2 months.”

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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