COVID-19 death toll rises to four in Thailand

By Linda Khoo

BANGKOK, March 24 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Thailand reported three more COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, which raised the cumulative death toll to four and the total number of confirmed cases to 827.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Thaweesilp Wissanuyothin said the three who died were Thai men – a 79-year-old Muay Thai guru who had suffered several chronic diseases; a 70-year-old bus driver who had tuberculosis and a 45-year-old diabetic.

“A total of 106 new COVID-19 cases were reported today, bringing the tally to 827 cases with four in critical condition,” he told a press conference at the COVID-19 Management Centre at Government House.

Thaweesilp said that of the 106 new cases, 25 are linked to earlier infections – 12 of them had close contact with confirmed cases, six visited entertainment outlets, five attended Muay Thai matches and two are from Pattani, southern Thailand, who had attended a mass religious gathering at a mosque in Malaysia.

He said 20 other new cases (12 foreigners and eight Thais) had travelled abroad; 10 worked in crowded places and had contact with foreigners and four medical personnel, from Phuket, Yala, Buriram and Nakhon Pathom provinces, were infected after patients did not divulge the truth when seeking treatment at hospitals. 

The remaining new cases are from unknown clusters and the authorities are investigating the source of infections, he said.

Of the 827 COVID-19 cases, 57 patients have been discharged while 766 remain hospitalised.

Thailand has closed major public venues including shopping malls in Bangkok and five nearby provinces  – Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakarn, Samut Songkram and Nakhon Pathom – for 22 days, from March 22 to April 12 to contain the disease.

The closure of schools, universities and tuition centres; entertainment outlets and sports venues from March 18 to 31 has been extended to April 12.

Meanwhile, Disease Control Department epidemiology director Dr Walailak Chaifu said the transmission rate in Bangkok is estimated at 1:3 and in the provinces, 1:2.

“As of today, cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 47 of the 77 provinces in the kingdom,” he said adding that the ratio of male to female patients is 2:1.