Covid surge threatens 'Charming Chiang Mai' campaign

Covid surge threatens 'Charming Chiang Mai' campaign

Officials talk to vendors on Wednesday outside Ton Lamyai Market, one of the three markets in Chiang Mai city which are closed until Saturday due to Covid-19 infections. (Photo from Chiang Mai public health office Facebook account)
Officials talk to vendors on Wednesday outside Ton Lamyai Market, one of the three markets in Chiang Mai city which are closed until Saturday due to Covid-19 infections. (Photo from Chiang Mai public health office Facebook account)

CHIANG MAI: A jump in the number of Covid-19 cases has set alarm bells ringing ahead of a plan to reopen the northern province for fully vaccinated foreign tourists.

The provincial public health office on Thursday reported 412 new infections, the highest in a week. The new infections in the northern city have climbed steadily since Tuesday from 199.

The latest number will be included in the report of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to be announced on Friday.

Chiang Mai governor Prachon Pratsakul called a meeting on Thursday to map out measures to curb the virus spread. He admitted the spike of new cases this week could affect a plan to reopen the province on Nov 1.

Chiang Mai promotes the "Charming Chiang Mai" plan to draw tourists from low-risk countries as the high season of tourism is drawing near.

The province will open only four districts — Muang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao — to visitors.

The CCSA on Wednesday also raised concern about the Covid-19 surge in Chiang Mai. The virus is suspected to be spreading to nearby Mae Hong Son through residents who had been to markets in Chiang Mai.

The governor on Wednesday ordered three famous markets, including Waroros market or the central market, to close until Saturday for disinfection after 37 new cases were linked to the markets. The areas around the markets would be strictly screened for two weeks, he added.

Chiang Mai aims to fully vaccinate 1.26 million people but has to date achieved only half, or 640,000.

The province registered 13,012 infections since the outbreak in April.

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