Thailand sees new daily record of 31 deaths; toll 276

BANGKOK Thailand yesterday reported a new daily record of 31 coronavirus deaths, taking the toll to 276, the Public Health Ministry said.

After managing to largely control the virus for around a year through shutdowns and strict border controls, Thailand has faced a spike in cases since early last month that is proving harder to control and putting pressure on the medical system.

The ministry recorded 2,041 cases yesterday, taking the total to 71,025 since the pandemic began last year.

The new outbreak, which includes the highly transmissible B117 variant first detected in Britain, has accounted for more than half of total cases and deaths since the start of the pandemic, leaving Thais worried about when it might end.

"It is horrible this time round," said bus driver Chaowan Tessana, 39, adding that his work days had been halved from 15 a month to six or seven. "I don't know what to do, so I am just living day by day."

The authorities say the situation should ease in the coming weeks due to the curbs, including shutting bars and public venues in Bangkok.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said pandemic fatigue as well as the reopening of many economic sectors are among the reasons for the rise in cases in the world.

He said this could be seen in Malaysia in the past month, after 61,984 cases and 235 deaths were registered last month alone. The country recorded 2,500 cases yesterday, taking the total to 417,512. There were 18 deaths, taking the toll to 1,551. - REUTERS, THE STAR