Thailand confirms 111 new coronavirus infections, ramping up testing facilities nationwide

Thailand’s government confirmed on Wednesday 111 new coronavirus infections bringing the total number of infections to 2,369. It is a return to three-figure increases after two days of lower numbers.

The government said that 3 more persons, an American, a Russian and an Indian national, have died from the disease bringing the death toll to 30.

64 more people have recovered from the disease bringing the total number of recovered patients to 888.

Government spokesman Dr Thaweesin Visanuyothin said that many of the new numbers were Thais returning from a religious festival in Indonesia. Government statistics show that 42 of the 111 new coronavirus infections came from the event.

According to Dr Thaweesin and the government, the resort island of Phuket has seen a sharp rise in the number of confirmed cases. The island has shut its provincial borders, stopping land and sea crossings and implementing a curfew but numbers continue to rise.

“We were buoyed by the previous lowered numbers,” said Dr Thaweesin. “But the new numbers show that we must keep vigilant.”

Testing capacity

Thailand’s government said on Wednesday that it was ramping up its testing capacity nationwide.

As it stands, hospitals and government facilities in Bangkok can conduct about 10,000 coronavirus tests per day. The rest of the country combined can also conduct around 10,000 tests per day.

The government said that it was building facilities so that there was one testing facility per province which would increase the capacity for testing nationwide.

New stimulus package

The Thai government said on Tuesday that it will pass a third economic relief package with a budget worth around 1.9 trillion baht (US$57.99 billion) to help the economy see through the coronavirus crisis.

The government previously passed two economic relief packages in March, which is expected to inject more than 517 billion baht into the Thai economy already.

However, according to various institutions including the Bank of Thailand (BOT), the economy is expected to fall into recession and contract by 5.3 per cent.

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