Thailand Reports Biggest Coronavirus Surge, Over 500 Cases

BANGKOK: Thailand reported over 500 cases of coronavirus from the centre of its seafood industry where there are many migrant workers on Saturday, in by far the biggest one-day rise in a country that had previously brought the epidemic largely under control.

The outbreak appeared in Samut Sakhon province, southwest of Bangkok, where four infections were reported at a shrimp market on Friday – the first a 67-year-old woman.

“While there is a likelihood of finding more infections in crowded foreign communities around the shrimp market, they are low-risk groups because they are working age and healthy,” Opas said.

The province was ordered closed until Jan. 3.

Local cases have previously largely been found in people observing quarantine after having been in close contact with an infected person. Most of Thailand’s recent cases have been imported.

The surge in cases comes just as Thailand is seeking to revive a tourist industry that has been devastated by the epidemic. On Thursday, it eased restrictions to allow more foreign tourists to return.

The government predicts about 8 million foreign tourists in 2021 after 6.7 million expected this year. Last year’s foreign visitors were a record of nearly 40 million..

(Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and David Evans)

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