Asia Minute: Thailand’s Spiking COVID Cases

Jan 7, 2021

Several parts of Asia that were successful in dealing with containing the early wave of coronavirus are now facing new challenges with the disease. And that includes Thailand


Less than a month ago, Thailand had a little more than 4,200 cases of COVID-19 — in a country with a population of nearly 70-million.

Today Thailand has more than doubled its cases in just a few weeks to more than 9,300.

The biggest part of the recent spike is linked to a seafood market outside Bangkok. It’s a business center that is also an income generator for nearly half a million migrant workers — mostly from Myanmar.

Migrant workers have been a vulnerable target for COVID-19 in other Southeast Asian countries — from construction workers in Singapore to workers in rubber glove factories in Malaysia.

Health officials in Thailand say that main cluster has now spread infections to more than half of the country’s provinces — including to the capital city.

The Bangkok Post reports the regional governor is threatening to shut down restaurants for two weeks if they don’t obey COVID restrictions — including a ban on selling alcohol.

Vaccine plans are also in the works.

The government expects to receive 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine from China next month. Reuters reports the country also has ordered millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine which will be processed locally — producing enough to eventually vaccinate the entire country.