Asean cases a worry, admit health chiefs

Asean cases a worry, admit health chiefs

Restraint called for over Songkran

Despite the declining number of novel coronavirus infections, Thailand cannot lower its guard because case numbers in neighbouring countries are still high, the spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Sunday.

The centre reported 33 new coronavirus infections yesterday, as well as three more deaths, taking the nation's death toll to 38.

The number of confirmed new cases was lower than the 45 recorded on Saturday and marks the fifth straight day of declines since 111 were recorded on April 8.

"The general trend in new infections has fallen since the curfew was imposed on April 3," spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said.

The peak number of confirmed cases so far was the 188 recorded on March 22, he added.

Dr Taweesilp said the fall in new infections is good news for the traditional Thai New Year, though high numbers of new cases in other Asean countries are worrying.

Malaysia yesterday reported a total of 184 new infections while the Philippines logged 233. Singapore recorded 191 new cases and Indonesia confirmed 330 new infections, Dr Taweesilp said.

"We can't afford to let our guard down. We have to be vigilant even though new cases came down to 33. We still have to cooperate with the government,'' he said.

He said social distancing must be maintained because there is still very little known about the transmission pattern of the novel coronavirus.

Asked why the ban on the sale of alcohol does not cover every province, Dr Taweesilp said a total of 73 out of the 76 provinces, including Bangkok, have banned alcohol sales.

For the remaining three, provincial communicable disease committees will discuss whether to follow suit with the Interior and Public Health Ministries, he said.

With traditional Thai New Year set to begin today, Dr Taweesilp called for no water splashing as it poses a transmission risk.

The centre is not imposing a water celebration ban, he said, but is asking everyone to cooperate by not returning to their home provinces or pouring water to pay respects to their elderly and to suspend all religious activities at temples.

On Friday, the centre warned of legal action against social gatherings during the festival as the country remains under an emergency decree.

Violators are liable to a fine of up to 40,000 baht and/or a jail term of up to two years.

The government has deferred the official Songkran Festival holidays, previously scheduled from today until Wednesday. New dates have yet to be decided.

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