Coronavirus cases in Rayong more than doubled on Sunday was 49 new infections linked to an illegal gambling party grew to 85 as officials consider expanding a Muang District lockdown province-wide.
Rayong Gov. Charna Lamsaeng and provincial health chief Dr. Sunthorn Rienpoomkarnkit said the outbreak worsened because the original gamblers infected lied to contact tracers, fearing prosecution. Charna implored anyone connected to the cluster to come forward for testing, promising there would be no legal repercussions.
Muang District, declared a red “highly controlled area” on Saturday, goes into virtual lockdown on Monday, but most non-essential businesses already closed today.
Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutacha said that drastic measures are needed to address the outbreak but he pleaded with the public to remain calm as health officials are moving rapidly to test at least 400 people a day.
The governor added that a field hospital might be set up to handle all the new cases.
Rayong’s numbers are not yet included in Thailand’s official coronavirus tally, which grew 121 of which 94 were locally transmitted and 18 came from migrant workers with nine other arrivals from abroad, one of whom – a Burmese driver – illegally crossed the border and already has been deported.
Coronavirus cases are now being reported in 38 provinces, leaving little doubt that Thailand’s “second wave” is here. Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin admitted Sunday that this wave is more serious than Thailand’s first epidemic in the spring.
Disease Control Department Director Dr Sophon Iamsirithavorn on Saturday said Thailand’s total infections could easily reach 10,000 due, in part, to the pivot to mass testing. Previously, tests were performed only in cases where individuals developed a fever. However, 90 percent of the current patients are asymptomatic.
The CCSA said Sunday that the existing midnight closure requirement for entertainment venues will enforced again and that live music must stop at 10 p.m. until Jan. 6. The midnight closure time is in the current Emergency Decree, but police have allow many places to remain open in Bangkok and Pattaya until 2 a.m.
New cases linked to the outbreak’s epicenter in Samut Sakhon Province included 16 in Bangkok, 11 in Nakhon Pathom, eight in Rayong, five in Phetchaburi, three in Ratchaburi, two each in Krabi and Nonthaburi, and one each in Nakhon Sawan, Narathiwat, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Khon Kaen, Saraburi and Surin.
Today’s official numbers also reported 28 local cases in Rayong tied to the gamblers, three each in Phetchaburi and Tak, two each in Nakhon Pathom and Nonthaburi, and one each in Bangkok and Samut Songkhram.
Of the total 6,141 cases, 4,161 have recovered, including nine discharged over the past 24 hours, and 1,920 were receiving treatment, including Myanmar workers quarantined in their dormitories. The death toll remained unchanged at 60.