Infections in South go up but tipped to level off soon
The spread of Covid-19 in the deep South is increasing but the Public Health Ministry expects infections to level off within a month.
Dr Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, deputy permanent secretary for public health, said cases in the region started spiking with the Delta variant accounting for 30% of infections.
The Beta strain is dominant in the deep South which comprises Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat and some parts of Songkhla.
According to Dr Thongchai, the spread of Covid-19 in the region is several weeks behind other regions and most cases are community infections.
However, he said transmissions are expected to level off in about a month as the public is complying with virus containment measures.
"We're seeing increased cooperation from people," he said.
"But it will take some time before it pays off.
"So we expect a drop in Covid-19 cases in about a month."
The four southern border provinces on Thursday recorded 1,949 new Covid-19 cases, up from 1,922 on Wednesday, and 11 new fatalities, an increase from six the previous day.
Songkhla, Narathiwat and Yala were among the top 10 provinces with the highest reported cases according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
Yala was fourth with 740 cases, while Songkhla ranked fifth with 596. Narathiwat had 332 new cases, ranking eighth.
In Yala's Betong district, a wet market in the Betong municipal area was ordered closed until Sunday after 14 out of 43 vendors tested positive for the virus.
Several businesses in the municipal area have also been closed until Monday, and some events cancelled as part of anti-virus efforts after daily cases were recorded at between 50-60.
Songkhla governor Jetsada Jitrat said on Thursday the Covid-19 situation in the province was worrying after infection spikes in Hat Yai, Muang, Chana and Singha Nakhon districts.
He said authorities are taking steps to contain virus transmission to ensure that an outbreak will not affect the planned tourism opening programme in Hat Yai.