Thailand’s COVID-19 infections rise by 5,406, total tally nears 250,000

A citizen receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Bangkok, Thailand, June 26, 2021. Thailand has been accelerating its vaccine rollout as it plans to reopen borders to foreign travelers as early as October. As of Saturday, the country has administered more than 8.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since it launched the national vaccination program in February. (Photo by Rachen Sageamsak/Xinhua)

(Xinhua) — Thailand reported on Monday 5,406 COVID-19 cases, the third highest daily tally since the pandemic began, raising the total case tally to nearly 250,000.

The country’s daily cases have regularly been in the thousands for more than two months since the third wave of outbreak began in early April, with the capital Bangkok and its vicinity regions as the epicenter. Nearly one-third of Monday’s new cases were detected in Bangkok.

The surge in infections, the country’s worst wave so far, has seen its total case tally rise from less than 30,000 at the beginning of April to 249,853 now, according to the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Cumulative deaths rose to 1,934, up by 22 on Monday.

To curb rising infections, Thailand decided to ban restaurant dine-in services and gatherings of more than 20 people in Bangkok and nine other provinces, in addition to the previously announced sealing-off of construction sites. These measures will remain for 30 days starting from Monday.

The government will pay for half the wages of employees affected by the one-month ban at restaurants and construction sites, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters Monday at the Government House.

Prayut said the government has prepared some 7.5 billion baht (about 235 million U.S. dollars) to cover such expenses in support of the affected employees.

Thailand has been accelerating vaccine rollout. Inoculations began in February, though a mass nationwide vaccination program did not begin until June. As of Sunday, the country has administered 9.15 million doses of vaccines, with more than 3.5 percent of its nearly 70 million people fully vaccinated, according to the CCSA data.