Six provinces, including the capital, have been designated “maximum control zones” in the wake of the fresh COVID-19 outbreak that has spread to 51 provinces, forcing people to scale down their New Year celebrations or watch live broadcasts of firework displays at home.
Bangkok, Chon Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Rayong and Samut Sakhon were declared “maximum control zones” as each has registered more than 50 COVID-19 cases, with special measures in place to curb the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, eight provinces – Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan, Saraburi and Tak were named “control zones”, as each has logged between 11–50 confirmed COVID-19 infections.
In lieu of a nationwide lockdown, a COVID-19 zoning system is currently in place, with provinces falling into different zone category depending on the number of new cases and the rate of spread.
Provinces with no more than 10 cases are categorised as “high surveillance zones”, with disease control measures possible, while “surveillance zones” are provinces with no cases and little likelihood of an outbreak.
37 provinces are classified as high surveillance zones, while 26 provinces see no infections and are thus considered surveillance zones.
Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said on Thursday the situation isn’t yet fully under control, even though the number of new cases is dropping.
The CCSA reported 194 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday -181 local transmissions and 13 among quarantined arrivals, raising the country’s total to 6,884. On Wednesday, 250 new cases were recorded.
Of the new cases, 11 were linked to the Samut Sakhon cluster, 32 were close contacts of confirmed patients, were in crowded places and/or worked risky jobs, while one was linked to the cluster in Rayong. The remaining cases were still under investigation.
“Even though the cases dropped from Thursday, the situation is not yet reassuring. We still have to verify the information before going public with it,” he said.
“The infections are now scattered in 51 provinces with Kanchanaburi, Maha Sarakham and Nong Khai being the latest additions.”
Kanchanaburi governor, Jirakiat Poomsawat, said the patient there is a student from Rayong studying at Mahidol University’s Sai Yok campus, whose mother was among the confirmed cases in Rayong.
Sai Yok district is a high surveillance zone, and the campus has switched to online classes and meetings until further notice.
Maha Sarakham governor Kiattisak Trongsiri said the patient there is a vendor in Samut Sakhon’s Muang district, who returned to the province on 20th December.
In Nong Khai, the patient is a vendor from Bangkok with travel history to the seafood market in Samut Sakhon between 1st – 18th December. She was found to be infected on 30th December.