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Thai provinces impose entry curbs as Covid cases soar in Bangkok

BANGKOK Almost 40 Thai provinces have imposed entry restrictions and quarantine requirements for people coming from Bangkok and other coronavirus hot spots ahead of a holiday travel period, as the capital grapples with soaring infections.

Yesterday, the government announced 967 new infections, bringing the overall tally to more than 32,000.

Separately, health officials in the northern city of Chiang Mai flagged a further 281 cases that were likely to be included in today's national figures.

Bangkok appears to be the epicentre of Thailand's third wave, with more than 1,000 cases reported this month.

The Thai capital has set up 10 field hospitals to accommodate up to 3,000 patients for Thailand's "most severe outbreak", according to director-general of the Medical Service Department Suksan Kittisupakorn.

Thai authorities have detected a highly infectious variant of the virus originally found in Britain.

Festivities for the rowdy Songkran holiday marking the Thai new year, known for its public water fights, have been curtailed, with officials cancelling Bangkok street celebrations to discourage crowds.

The national government has not brought in a travel ban but as of noon yesterday, 38 out of 77 provinces had announced their own entry restrictions.

SECOND WAVE

Meanwhile, new cases in India surged to a record of 152,879 yesterday as the country battled a second wave of infections by pushing for faster vaccinations, with some states considering tougher restrictions to slow the spread.

India leads the world in the daily average number of new infections reported, accounting for one in every six infections reported globally each day, according to a Reuters tally.

Daily cases have set record highs six times this week, according to data from the federal Health Ministry. Deaths have also surged, with the ministry reporting 839 fatalities yesterday - the highest in more than five months.

India's tally of more than 13.35 million cases is the third-highest globally, behind Brazil and the United States. - AFP, REUTERS

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