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Thailand bans public gatherings as Covid cases hit record high

Thailand bans public gatherings as Covid cases hit record high

Thailand has imposed a nationwide ban on public gatherings and was considering more restrictions on movement as authorities reported record numbers of new cases and deaths on Saturday.

Despite partial lockdowns in Bangkok and nine other provinces this week, the country’s Covid-19 task force reported 10,082 new coronavirus cases and 141 new deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 391,989 cases and 3,240 fatalities since the pandemic started.

A ban on public gatherings has been imposed, with a maximum penalty of a two-year jail term or a fine of up to 40,000 baht ($1,220) or both, an announcement on the official Royal Gazette published late on Friday showed.

The prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, said that the government was considering more restrictions as the country battled its worst coronavirus outbreak yet, fueled by the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta Covid-19 variants.

“There is a need to expand measures to limit people’s movement as much as possible and closing more facilities leaving only the essentials,” Prayuth said on his official Facebook page on Friday.

Areas considered high risk in Thailand have been under the toughest restrictions in more than a year since Monday, with curbs on movement and gatherings, the closure of malls and some businesses, and curfews between 9pm to 4am.

China reported 30 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the mainland on Friday, compared with 36 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Saturday.

Twenty-eight of the new cases were imported and two were locally transmitted, data from the national health commission showed.

India on Saturday reported 38,079 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 31.06 million, health ministry data showed.

The number of deaths rose by 560, taking the total to 413,091, according to ministry data.


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