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Thailand bans public gatherings as COVID-19 cases and deaths hit daily records

Thailand bans public gatherings as COVID-19 cases and deaths hit daily records

FILE PHOTO: A man undergoes a free coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a rapid antigen mass testing station as the spread of COVID-19 continues, in Bangkok, Thailand, July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa

BANGKOK: Thailand imposed a nationwide ban on public gatherings and is considering more restrictions on movement as authorities reported record numbers of new COVID-19 cases and deaths on Saturday (Jul 17), despite partial lockdowns in Bangkok and nine other provinces this week.

The country's COVID-19 task force reported 10,082 new COVID-19 cases and 141 more deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 391,989 cases and 3,240 fatalities since the pandemic started.

READ: Thailand considering limits on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine exports

A ban on public gatherings has been imposed, with a maximum penalty of a two-year jail term or a fine of up to 40,000 baht (US$1,219.88) or both, an announcement on the official Royal Gazette published late on Friday showed.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that the government is considering more restrictions as the country battles its worst coronavirus outbreak yet, fuelled by the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta COVID-19 variants since early April.

"There is a need to expand measures to limit people's movement as much as possible and closing more facilities leaving only the essentials," Prayut said on his official Facebook page on Friday.

READ: Three more Thai islands open to vaccinated travellers despite surge in COVID-19 cases

Areas considered high risk in Thailand have been under the toughest restrictions in more than a year since Monday, with curbs on movement and gatherings, the closure of malls and some businesses, and curfews between 9pm to 4am.

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Source: Reuters/mi

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