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Covid-19 in Southern provinces prompts Songkhla checkpoints

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Songkhla has added checkpoints as Covid-19 surges in Southern provinces. (via Flickr/Thanat Tantinam)

As Thailand’s Deep South faces surges in Covid-19 infections, people crossing from the three southern border provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yala will face checkpoints when crossing into Songkhla. The checkpoints will stop travellers crossing the southern provincial border to do random Covid-19 screening.

Pattani recorded 566 new Covid-19 infections yesterday, the most cases out of the southern provinces, and reported that their hospital beds were completely full. Infections have been increasing in the region and measures are being taken to attempt to stop the spread of the virus and cope with the infected.

Provincial authorities are racing to set up community isolation facilities, aiming to have the ability to house up to 10,000 people, in an attempt to free up hospital beds in the province as the infection numbers continue to rise. In Yala, 27 workers at a para-rubber factory were infected with Covid-19 but since the hospitals and even field hospitals are full, they have been moved to home isolation.

Officials are also implementing stricter Covid-19 safety measures, moving back to takeaway-only rules for restaurants unless both the full staff and the dine-in customers are fully vaccinated.

The surge in Covid-19 infections has been blamed on social gatherings without proper face masks and social distancing, while many are still hesitant to get vaccinated. The governor of Songkhla says that they are increasing their efforts to get everyone vaccinated and hope to reach the 70% mark in the residents of the province by the end of the month.

Songkhla is seeking an additional 250,000 vaccines for their residents as well as 170,000 antigen test kits in an effort to speed up both vaccination and Covid-19 testing to identify and separate new patients in home or community isolation programmes.

Meanwhile, the Hat Yai Sandbox still intends to launch its own reopening in the next few days despite high Covid-19 numbers. Many shops and businesses in the district are participating in the Sandbox reopening hoping to boost the local economy, according to the chairman of the Tourists Business Federation of Songkhla.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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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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