On Tuesday, the outbreak centred on entertainment venues in Bangkok’s Thong Lor reached 250 infections. Authorities responded by closing all pubs and nightspots in the area for two weeks.
Dr Yong Poovorawan, a virologist at Chulalongkorn University, predicted that Covid-19 cases will rise sharply in 2021 since “people were becoming careless about the virus risk”.
Covid-19 is thought to spread quickly in the enclosed spaces of entertainment venues, where people often have to huddle close and shout to be heard over loud music. Moreover, party goers often visit more than one venue per night, increasing risk of transmission.
Yong said much money and effort would be spent combating the outbreak over the upcoming Songkran holiday, when millions travel to their hometowns to party and be with their families.
The virologist is an advocate of rapid vaccination to solve the crisis but said at current rates of vaccination it could take Thailand two years to reach herd immunity. In the meantime, the country risked being hit by third and fourth waves of Covid-19, he said.
As of April 2, only 0.3 per cent of Thailand’s population (204,642 people) have been vaccinated since the inoculation programme launched on February 28, according to Bloomberg.