Covid cases spike as tourism recovery gains steam

Covid cases spike as tourism recovery gains steam

People walk past a mythical giant decorated with face masks near the check-in counters at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakan on July 1, 2022. (AFP file photo)
People walk past a mythical giant decorated with face masks near the check-in counters at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakan on July 1, 2022. (AFP file photo)

The government has reported a surge in serious Covid-19 infections and deaths, just as the country is seeing a rebound in foreign tourist arrivals that’s likely to gain further momentum into the holiday season.

An average of 702 Covid patients were hospitalised a day in the week ended Nov 26, almost double the number from the start of the month, the Health Ministry said on Monday. A total of 74 people died during the period, up from 40 people in the week ended Nov 5, it said.

The surge in infections, especially in Bangkok and popular tourism destinations in the eastern and southern regions, are due to the winter season and increased public activities, the ministry said. While authorities have yet to warn of reimposing any mobility restrictions, the uptick in cases may deter some foreign visitors. 

With most fatalities among the elderly and those with chronic diseases, authorities urged people to get booster shots every four months and those not vaccinated to get their doses at the earliest opportunity. 

The government is adding more vaccination sites in Bangkok and other tourist destinations to build immunity ahead of the New Year festivities, Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said in the statement.

Thailand has seen a gradual recovery in foreign tourist arrivals after it scrapped all pandemic-era restrictions on travel in July. More than 10 million tourists are expected to visit the country this year with the number expected to double next year, according to the government.


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