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High Covid-19 infections in the Deep South fuel lockdown fears

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Many in the Deep South fear lockdowns coming amid rising Covid-19 infections. (Via The Economic Times)

The Deep South of Thailand, particularly Songkhla and Pattani, has seen a surge in Covid-19 infections, prompting calls for action and fears of lockdowns to come. Covid-19 clusters have been mainly centred in factories and businesses, with outbreaks traced to a wedding banquet and a barbecue restaurant, but some cases are still crossing provincial lines into the southern provinces.

Chana, Hat Yai, Muang, Rattaphum, Saba Yoi, Sadao, Singha Nakhon, and Thepha districts were identified as particularly at-risk hotspots. In Songkhla, over 6,400 patients are currently hospitalised from Covid-19 and there has been more than 160 deaths in the province. In Pattani there were 6 deaths from Covid-19 yesterday, and the province is down to 883 beds available in hospitals.

Yesterday Songkhla, currently the province with the 8th highest total number of infections, saw 504 new infections, with an average of 489 new infections per day this month and 34,792 infections since the beginning Covid-19. Yala, the 12th most infected province in Thailand, saw 650 new infections, with an average of 653 new infections per day this month and 28,631 infections throughout the pandemic.

Narathiwat ranks 13th and saw 470 new infections, 458 per day average in October, and 27,861 total infections. Pattani ranks 17th, with 413 infections yesterday, 397 per day average this month, and 24,989 total infections.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the cooperation of agencies to coordinate and increase efforts to battle the high numbers of Covid-19 cases, according to Deputy Minister of Interior Nipon Bunyamanee. Increases in field hospitals are necessary to handle the limited capacity to treat Covid-19 patients, and home isolation programmes should be ramped up, along with more quarantine facilities.

Officials report that the infections numbers started to climb as restrictions were eased and people became complacent, no longer practising proper social distancing or wearing masks in public, leading to increased spreading of Covid-19. Now many fear if the virus isn’t reined in, another strict lockdown could be coming.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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