Thailand has reported 175 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration said on Friday afternoon.
According to the CCSA, 120 of the cases were found through active case finding. The other 47 were reported from hospitals. Eight cases were recorded from people who arrived from abroad. This brings Thailand total cases to 24,279.
The CCSA also revealed that Samut Sakhon reported 57% of the total number of cases. The province, which is the epicenter of the second outbreak, reported 95 new cases. 49 Myanmar nationals and 11 Thais were found positive in active case-finding, while 18 Myanmar nationals and 15 Thais were admitted at hospitals.
Two more cases of unspecified nationalities were also reported by hospitals in Samut Sakhon.
In Pathum Thani, active case finding also revealed 60 new cases. These involved 29 foreigners from Myanmar, and 31 locals.
In Bangkok, hospitals confirmed nine new infections of COVID-19. Six of these cases were locals, while three were nationals from Myanmar. Two patients were security guards, three were company employees, one is a vendor, one works at a university, one workers in the medical industry and one is laborer.
Meanwhile, one case each was reported in the provinces of Chon Buri, Nonthaburi, and Samut Songkhram. These were all found in hospitals and not through active case finding.
As for the imported cases, one case each came from these countries: Jordan, Germany, Sweden, Indonesia, Italy, Iceland, Sierra Leone and Malaysia.
Out of the current total of 24,279 cases, 83.24% of the patients had recovered. 411 had been discharged by the hospitals between Thursday and Friday, while 3,989 continue to receive treatment for COVID-19.
With no new deaths, the death toll remains at 80.
As cases continue to rise through case finding, the national government of Thailand has announced that it will be kick starting its immunization program this month in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
It will begin with an initial shipment of 2 million doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech. The first groups to be immunized are the front-liners who are manning field hospitals and checkpoints in provinces considered high-risk for infection like Samut Sakhon.
Deputy Health Minister Sopon Iamsirithaworn said that the vaccination will proceed in two phases – Phase 1 will run from February to May and will use imported doses. By June, Siam Biotech will begin producing doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through a technology transfer agreement.
The second phase, which will run from June to December, is expected to administer 61 million doses that will be produced locally.
Mr. Sopon said that the vaccination program will involve staff in 1,000 hospitals all across the country. He added that each hospital will be able to administer 500 doses a day. With that pace, he estimated the government’s vaccination program to administer about 10 million doses or inoculate 10 million people a month.
Mr. Sopon revealed that the government hopes to achieve herd immunity by December, or have 60% of the total population of Thailand inoculated against the virus.