Thailand to evaluate lockdown rules amid surge in infections

BANGKOK, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Health authorities in Thailand are expected to make a decision on whether to extend the current lockdown measures on Monday, as the country's average daily COVID-19 cases reached 20,000 over the past seven days with no signs of decline.

A health worker checks fingertip oxygen meter of a COVID-19 patient on his arrival at Rangsit train station in Pathum Thani Province, Thailand, Tuesday, July 27, 2021. (Photo: AP)

Thailand announced on Aug. 1 to expand restrictive measures, including travel curbs, shopping mall closures and night-time curfews to 29 provincial regions from the previous 13 for at least two weeks.

Without the lockdown, the number of daily infections would have reached a level of 60,000 to 70,000 and more than 800 fatalities per day based on calculations, said Thaweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), at a press conference on Friday.

The CCSA will also discuss whether to ease some restrictions, and allow certain essential businesses to reopen on the premises of department stores, as many people and businesses have been severely hit by the tough measures.

Thailand on Saturday recorded 22,086 new COVID-19 cases and 217 deaths, taking the total number of infections to 885,275 and death toll to 7,343, according to the CCSA.

Some 5,590 patients are in critical condition, of which 1,151 are currently receiving ventilatory support.

The World Health Organization Thailand office predicted that the country's medical system will continue to see a very high burden of severe COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, and the daily deaths will remain high.