One new Covid-19 death, 789 new cases
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One new Covid-19 death, 789 new cases

More than 1,000 cases in 40 provinces now linked to entertainment venue cluster

A staff member at Mor Chit bus terminal checks the body temperature of a girl on Friday as people started going to their home provinces for the Songkran holiday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
A staff member at Mor Chit bus terminal checks the body temperature of a girl on Friday as people started going to their home provinces for the Songkran holiday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

One new Covid-19 death and 789 new cases, 781 of them local, were reported on Saturday, as authorities prepared to make as many as 10,000 field-hospital beds available in Bangkok.

The latest figures bring the nationwide total to 97 deaths and 31,658 cases since the pandemic began last year.

Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said a 60-year-old Thai man in Nakhon Pathom with diabetes and high blood pressure had died.

On Feb 7, he had a cough and sore throat. He sought treatment at a hospital on Feb 11 after having a fever and shortness of breath.

By March 19, his condition had improved and he was removed from a ventilator. But two days later he became exhausted and had phlegm. Doctors found he was infected and was resistant to drugs. On April 4, he had acute kidney failure and died.

On April 9, doctors concluded he died of Covid-19 and other complications.

The newest outbreak, with many of the cases the more contagious UK strain of the virus, has now spread to 62 provinces across the country.

The latest wave began last month in a handful of entertainment venues in Bangkok and nearby provinces and has now been linked to 1,016 cases reported in 40 provinces over the past three weeks. Of the total, 583 cases are in Bangkok, including 177 originating at Krystal Club, a high-end “gentlemen’s club” in the Thong Lor area.

Other prominent hotspots were the Emerald Club (34 cases) and The Cassette (31) in Bangkok, and Maya Exclusive in Hua Hin, with 28 cases.

Authorities are preparing to install as many as 10,000 field-hospital beds in Bangkok to ensure everyone can get treatment if the caseload worsens.

At least a dozen hospitals in the capital said they had stopped testing for the coronavirus as of Friday due to a lack of kits or capacity. Hospitals are also reluctant to test because by law they must admit people if they test positive, authorities say.

“We aim to increase (field) hospital beds to 10,000 in no time, which should give the public confidence that we can still contain this round of the outbreak,” said Suksan Kittisupakorn, director-general of the Medical Service Department.

The current surge appeared to be the country’s worst yet, he said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asked people to do everything they can to limit the spread, even though millions want to celebrate Songkran after being unable to do so last year.

“I’m very worried. If anyone does not need to travel, please stay home,” he said in a podcast on Saturday.

Of the new cases reported on Saturday, 185, or 23%, were in Bangkok. Trailing the capital were Chiang Mai (168), Chon Buri (101), Samut Prakan (75), Prachuap Khiri Khan (40), Narathiwat (18), Nakhon Pathom (15), Sa Kaeo (11) and Pathum Thani (11), Rayong (10), Songkhla (10), Nakhon Ratchasima (10) and Chiang Rai (10). The remaining cases were found in 46 other provinces.

Of the 789 new local cases, 522 were confirmed at hospitals and 259 in communities.

There were eight imported cases, in quarantined arrivals from Russia (3), the United Kingdom, United States, Oman, India and Canada (1 each). They were four Thais, three Russians and one Omani national.

Of the total cases, 28,161 (88.95%) had already recovered, including 33 discharged on Friday, and 3,400 were in hospitals.

Global Covid-19 cases soared by 785,896 to 135.29 million. The worldwide death toll rose by 13,268 to 2.92 million.

The US had the most cases, at 31.8 million, up by 85,368. Brazil came second with 13.37 million, up 89,090. India was third with 13.2 million, up 144,829. Thailand ranked 113th.

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