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Thailand raises COVID-19 alert level due to Omicron spread

Thailand raises COVID-19 alert level due to Omicron spread

A health worker from Zendai organisation in personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a swab sample from a girl for a rapid antigen test amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Bangkok, Thailand, January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK : Thailand on Thursday (Jan 6) raised its COVID-19 alert level following rising infections driven by the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, a senior health official said.

The change, from level three to four, sets a pretext for possible measures that could follow, such as closing high-risk areas and placing restrictions on domestic travel or public gatherings.

"Thailand has entered a new wave of infections, where new cases will be rising fast," said Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary of the health ministry.

"Level four means we may close high-risk places and announce more measures."

The move comes amid a sharp rise in daily infections since the beginning of the year.

Thailand reported 5,775 new cases on Thursday, a 48 per cent rise on the previous day and nearly double the number on Jan 1.

The Southeast Asian country has vaccinated about 69.1 per cent of an estimated 72 million people living in the country with two doses, but only 10.9 per cent have received booster shots.

Source: Reuters/az

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