Lockdown extended for another 14 days, 16 more provinces included

The government has decided to extend the lockdown imposed on the “Dark Red” zone for another 14 days, while including 16 more provinces into the zone in a bid to stem the spread of the Delta variant, which has now engulfed almost all of the country

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has held a special meeting today and decided to further impose lockdown in the Dark Red zone, which includes Bangkok and 12 other provinces for another 14 days to try to curb the spread of Covid-19, which has now been dominated by the Delta variant.

The CCSA has also decided to extend the lockdown to cover 16 more provinces, resulting in 29 provinces in total to be listed under the Dark Red zone, or the maximum and strict control zone, the strictest.

According to the CCSA’s spokeswoman, Dr. Apisamai Srirangson, the Delta variant is spreading widely now both in families and communities and across the country as the infection cases continue to incline in a number of provinces. The CCSA has learned that the cases from upcountry now have surpassed those in Bangkok and its peripheries, the epicentre of the outbreak, with the ratio of 61% to 39%. As a result, it has decided on the latest measure as such.

Dr. Apisamai noted that the lockdown measure will be in place from August 3 onwards, and will last at least 14 days. However, if the situation has not improved by then, the extension of the measure could be possible until the end of the month.

So far, Thailand has witnessed the cumulative cases out of the third and fourth waves surpass 500,000 already since early this week. As of today, 586,541 cases have been reported, and the number of new daily infection cases has crossed 18,000 (18,027). The major problem brought by the two variants is they have been depleting medical resources and facilities and in some places have overwhelmed those resources especially ICU beds and medical staff who take care of the patients.

The government has recently decided to shift the strategy by introducing the so-called home and community isolation to help receive patients without symptoms to lessen their impacts on the country’s medical capacity.

As of today, 4,765 severe cases have been reported, and 1,044 more are those who need ventilators. These have far overwhelmed the medical capacity.

The Department of Disease Control has projected that if the lockdown was implemented for one month, the number of new daily infection cases could be lowered from that projected in the do-nothing scenario, from 45,000 to 35,000 a day during the peak period. And if it was implemented for two months, the number could be kept lower, around 25,000 a day during the peak period. The severe cases of the two scenarios are projected between 3,000-4,000 and deaths beyond 300 and 400.

The most desirable scenario is the one with effective vaccination in the next two months, which is expected to help cut down the severe cases to 1,500 and no more than 200 deaths a day, thus being under the medical capacity again.

Locking down

Under the lockdown measure, people are allowed to leave home only for necessary stuff and businesses such as food or medicines or performing duty. Full work from home is at the same time enforced for workplaces of both private and public entities. (Read: Lockdown to be in full force in Dark Red zone tomorrow onwards)

People have to also deal with other strict measures including a night curfew from 9 pm to 4 am, early closure of shops and malls, strict travels in and out of the zone, and others.

Dr. Apisamai said Regulation No. 30, which will be issued under Section 9 of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations B.E. 2548 (2005), will possibly be published in the Royal Gazette right away tonight. It will last at least 14 days before being subject to review again.