Thailand reports daily record of COVID-19 deaths as some tourists return

FILE PHOTO: People wait to receive the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as Thailand start a mass inoculation at a gymnasium inside the Siam paragon Shopping center, Bangkok, Thailand June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand on Thursday reported a daily record of 57 deaths from the coronavirus, the second day in a row of record-high fatalities as the Southeast Asian country struggles to quell a stubborn third wave of COVID-19 infections.

The report came on the same day as Thailand is kicking off a programme to revive tourism on Phuket, which has seen far fewer cases than the mainland after Thailand prioritised vaccinations for the population of the resort island.

Under the plan, foreign tourists vaccinated against COVID-19 can bypass quarantine requirements and freely move around the island. After 14 days, barring any coronavirus issues, they can travel elsewhere in the country.

Thailand lost about $50 billion in tourism revenue last year as foreign arrivals plunged 83% to 6.7 million, from a record 39.9 million in 2019. Phuket was hit particularly hard by job losses and business closings.

The new COVD-19 deaths reported on Thursday take Thailand’s total number of fatalities to 2,080 since the pandemic started last year.

The country’s COVID-19 task force also reported 5,533 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections to 264,834.

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