Record 31 Covid deaths 2,041 new infections

Record 31 Covid deaths 2,041 new infections

A man walks through 70-Rai community in Klong Toey district of Bangkok on Sunday. The community is the centre of a new Covid-19 cluster. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
A man walks through 70-Rai community in Klong Toey district of Bangkok on Sunday. The community is the centre of a new Covid-19 cluster. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The Public Health Ministry on Monday reported a new daily high of 31 coronavirus deaths and 2,041 new infections over the previous 24 hours.

This took the total number of cases to  71,025 since the pandemic began last year. The death toll now stands at 276.

This was about 50% up on the 21 deaths reported on both Saturday and Sunday.

The new wave, which includes the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant first detected in Britain, has accounted for more than half of total cases and deaths since the start of the pandemic.

As the rising toll was announced, a respected professor of medicine warned the kingdom faces a crisis if the number deaths continues to rise.

"If the figures do not go down and instead continue to rise, that means we are moving towards the real crisis stage," Prasit Watanapa, dean of Siriraj Hospital's faculty of medicine, said during the daily briefing of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Dr Prasit urged people to be strict about wearing face masks, to follow all measures advocated to curb the latest outbreak and to accept vaccination.

"Please get vaccinated," he said. Vaccines would help the country contain the spread of the disease.

The latest deaths were reported across 11 provinces, with Bangkok and Nonthaburi logging a combined 10 fatalities. Pathum Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat each recorded two deaths, while Chachoengsao, Ang Thong, Phetchaburi, Suphan Buri, Lop Buri, Chaiyaphum and Ranong had one each.

A spokeswoman for the CCSA, Dr  Apisamai Srirangson, said most deaths were people who been in close with previously infected people, many in their own families.

The rate of new infections returned to above 2,000 for the first time since Thursday, when the country registered 2,001 cases. Most of the new infections during the month just completed, April, were concentrated in Bangkok and three adjoining provinces - Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani.

"The trend of new infections in other provinces is down, but in Bangkok and its vicinity it is going up," she said.

Dr Apisamai said the main concern was in Bangkok, especially three communities in Klong Toey district of Bangkok, the centre of a new cluster. The district reported 304 new transmissions last month, most of them in three congested communities of Pattana Mai, 70 Rai and Rim Klong Wat Saphan, she said.

These three communities were the prime focus of mass testing. Plans to curb new infections in Klong Toey district were the main agenda of talks between health authorities on Monday afternoon.

Health authorities were also closely monitoring other districts, including a community in Bon Kai in Pathum Thani district, where new infections had been detected, she said.

Deputy Defence Forces spokeswoman Col Chatrapee Poonsawat said on Monday the military was erecting a new field hospital for up to 300 patients at a warehouse at Klong Toey Port.

The CCSA said the country recorded only one new imported case, a Thai national who returned from Cambodia on April 22. He was under treatment at Sa Kaeo Hospital.

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