Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia – surprise spikes in Covid infections

For Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand, the Covid situation was ‘under control’. Everything was going fine and the countries were mulling re-opening borders to general travel. Well everything was going fine, until it wasn’t.

In just 3 bewildering weeks, Thailand has gone from ‘let’s re-open Phuket’ to setting up thousands of field hospital beds. The daily infection totals over the past week have surpassed anything Thailand has had to face over the past year. A cluster of cases from Bangkok’s hi-so nightclubs was followed by Bangkokians heading out of town for Songkran, mixing about with their families and friends, and then returning, a massive movement of people around the country.

The Thai government couldn’t have come up with a more effective plan to spread Covid-19 if it had tried.

Restrictions have been now announced nationally, with some tighter measures being announced in red zone provinces. Bars and clubs have been shut, restaurants banned from serving alcohol and the opening hours of shopping centres have been cut. Some provinces are doing one thing whilst the province next door is doing another. Provincial police are not exactly sure what they’re meant to enforce because it changes almost daily.

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Some red zone provinces now have entry restrictions, including Covid paperwork, proof of vaccination or insistence to do a test upon arrival. More will follow.

Doctors, too, are reporting that patients in this current wave, which involves the more transmissible strain called B117, or the UK variant, are presenting with a different cocktail of symptoms. Thai doctors are reporting that about 40% of patients with symptoms developed pneumonia while in hospital – a higher proportion than in Thailand’s previous waves.

A survey conducted by the UK Office for National Statistics in England found that people testing positive for the new variant were more likely to report persistent coughing, rashes, red eyes, tiredness, muscle aches, sore throat and fever compared to those who have the original strain.

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Tim Newton

Tim joined The Thaiger as one of its first employees in 2018 as an English news writer/editor and then began to present The Thaiger's Daily news show in 2020, Thailand News Today (or TNT for short). He has lived in Thailand since 2011, having relocated from Australia.

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