Decline in cases sparks optimism
Eastern provinces could see restrictions lifted
The eastern provinces, which are currently under the maximum level of Covid-19 control, may soon see the restrictions lifted after a steady decline in new infections, says Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha.
Mr Sathit said the outcome of Covid-19 containment measures in eight eastern provinces was satisfactory given the speed at which the virus has been brought under control.
The provinces will be proposed for re-classification from "red zones" to less strict "orange zones", he said.
Mr Sathit yesterday visited Chon Buri where he met local healthcare and administrative officials from the eastern region.
"We have to thank people for their patience and cooperation which has led to this faster-than-expected success in containing the outbreak," Mr Sathit said.
The proposal to have Covid-19 restrictions eased in the eastern provinces will be submitted to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) for consideration, he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DoDC) said Samut Sakhon, one of the early virus hotspots near Bangkok, would have to wait at least until next week before it is decided whether the province should be removed from the red zone.
He was speaking after a meeting on Covid-19 that focused mainly on the situation in Samut Sakhon that has so far clocked up 5,184 new cases during the new wave of cases.
The meeting agreed that more Covid-19 control measures would have to be added to stabilise infections in Samut Sakhon.
If and when restrictions are loosened, the central shrimp market in the province, where a large cluster of infections originally occurred, could be re-opened, he said.
In Bangkok, which reports the second highest number of cumulative cases, at 657, the situation is stable, Dr Opas said.
The CCSA on Saturday recorded 198 new cases nationwide, 180 of which were local transmissions, while an 81-year-old man in Phitchit died after contracting Covid-19 from a family member who had returned home from Samut Sakhon on Dec 31.
The man fell ill with a high fever, cough and fatigue on Jan 15 before he died on Friday while being treated in hospital.
He became Thailand's 72nd death from the virus.