Thailand detects first local cases of Indian COVID-19 variant
Thailand has detected its first 15 domestically transmitted local cases of Indian COVID-19 Variant, a discovery that could complicate efforts to address its most deadly outbreak so far.
Authorities said on Friday that, clusters have been detected in several of the 409 such camps around the capital, where 62,169 workers live, about half of those migrant labour. It has also found big clusters in several of its prisons this month.
The 15 cases included 12 construction workers at their camp in northern Bangkok, where about 1,100 of the 1,667 workers there tested positive for COVID-19.
Thailand is fighting its most severe outbreak yet, with cases quadrupling and deaths increasing seven-fold since the start of April.
The B.1.617.2 variant, which ravaged India, is believed by some experts to be even more transmissible than the B117 variant first detected in Britain, which is also present in Thailand.
A spokesman for the government’s COVID-19 taskforce Taweesin Wisanuyothin said, “The government has ordered checks on living conditions of workers in dormitories and has restricted movement between different camps.
“Those infected are being treated in hospital.”
The discovery of the variant comes as Thailand prepare to start is mass-vaccination campaign next month.
It has far administered first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 1.72 million recipients, mostly frontline workers or members of high-risk groups.
The taskforce reported 3,481 new cases and 32 deaths, bringing the total to 123,066 cases and 735 fatalities overall.